Nick Saban says Giants’ Xavier McKinney will have ‘easy transition’
Former Alabama Crimson Tide safety Xavier McKinney was widely expected to be a first-round selection in the 2020 NFL Draft last month, but the New York Giants aren’t upset that he wasn’t. Nabbed with the 36th overall pick, New York used their second-round choice to secure the talents of the 21-year-old who was named First-team All-SEC last year.
McKinney’s former head coach, Nick Saban, thinks that he will make a seamless transition to rookie head coach Joe Judge and the Giants.
“I think it’ll be helpful to him because we do — when I was coach at the Dolphins or Bill Belichick’s defensive coordinator in Cleveland — we do a lot of the same stuff here from a coverage standpoint, from a secondary standpoint,” Saban said in an interview on the Giants’ team website. “So our guys typically make good adjustments. I know a few years ago we had six guys sign NFL contracts and five of them ended up starting as rookies. Even though this will be a transition, I think most of the things that ‘X’ is going to be exposed to, he’s probably done. They might call it something different. I think it’ll be an easy transition for him.”
McKinney will have the opportunity to step right in and contribute for New York, looking to follow in the footsteps of another Alabama standout safety who did the same for the Giants, Landon Collins. Pro Football Focus named McKinney a Top 10 candidate to be named Defensive Rookie of the Year, lofty praise that it sounds like Saban believes McKinney can live up to.