One of the few bright spots in the 2021 season for the New York Giants was second-year safety Xavier McKinney. McKinney led the team in interceptions and took a significant jump in his sophomore season.
Now as the Giants try to turn the roster around, McKinney could be one of the pieces Big Blue builds around for the future. Certainly, the Giants have a few talented players on defense, but none have the potential at a young age like McKinney.
While McKinney most definitely impressed in 2021, it is possible he was underappreciated during the Giants’ abysmal four-win season in the first 17-game NFL season.
Highest graded Safeties in man coverage last season
🥇 Jevon Holland: 84.9 🐬
🥈 Adrian Phillips: 82.9
🥉 Xavier McKinney: 81.8 pic.twitter.com/J1Z22euIzr
— PFF MIA Dolphins (@PFF_Dolphins) March 10, 2022
When the Giants drafted the Alabama product, they knew they were getting a talented player who can play all over the field and clearly his coverage is one of his strong points.
Going into the season, it was hard to imagine McKinney getting enough playing time to impress as much as he did with such a crowded defensive backfield, particularly at the safety position.
After a couple key injuries all over the defense, including a season-ending injury to Jabrill Peppers, McKinney thrived and ended up having the third-most total tackles on the team.
The Giants may have found themselves a gem in McKinney when they took him in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft. While the team’s new general manager Joe Schoen reshapes the roster, McKinney certainly has value for the Giants’ in the future.