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3 bold predictions for Xavier McKinney in his rookie season with the Giants

Giants, Xavier McKinney

With the fourth selection in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, the New York Football Giants grabbed their starting free safety of the future in Alabama product Xavier McKinney. Immediately slotting into the starting lineup for the Giants, this serves as major help to solidify their secondary moving forward.

Alabama has been turning out stout defensive backs over the past few years, as the likes of Minkah Fitzpatrick, HaHa Clinton-Dix, Trevon Diggs and Eddie Jackson, among others, are all spread throughout the NFL, keeping up the defensive back pipeline that the Crimson Tide has been churning out.

For McKinney, this is an excellent spot for him to slide into to begin his NFL career, and the Giants will be able to reap his physical and mental benefits as soon as the offseason program begins. Here are three bold predictions for his rookie season.

Four Interceptions

Playing alongside strong safety Jabrill Peppers will push McKinney into a role that sees him playing a ton of centerfield, especially with Peppers spending most of his time floating all around the field.

By being the main guy and the last resort to stop the offensive passing attack, McKinney should be able to stick his nose into many different situations and be disruptive, breaking up plays and picking off passes.

50-plus tackles

Being on the back-end of the defensive alignment presents McKinney with the role of playing coverage more than tackling. But he will also be counted on to stick his nose into plays and wrap up tackles in the open field.

While 50 tackles may be a little high for a safety that will be counted on more on the back-end than in the box, McKinney has the skills to be a rookie force for the Giants right away in 2020.

Team Defensive MVP

Outside of McKinney, names like defensive lineman Leonard Williams, Peppers, cornerback James Bradberry, and defensive end Dexter Lawrence will all most likely be vying for the right to be named the Giants’ team defensive MVP for the 2020 season.

McKinney should already be considered a favorite to win that award.

To be the best player in the secondary that is not a cornerback, McKinney is going to be thrown into the fire immediately. And he will be counted on to make big plays and make that jump into NFL game speed seamlessly, which is a very tough task to ask of for a rookie.

But coming out of a program like Alabama’s, which routinely produced NFL-ready players, McKinney’s transition into the league should be less bumpy than most players experience.