The Cleveland Browns will have some decisions to make at their safety positions and could choose to address the position in the upcoming draft. In light of that, the Browns should already be targeting Alabama safety Xavier McKinney.
The Browns ended the 2019 season with a 6-10 record following an offseason of sky-high expectations. As a result, Cleveland currently commands the 10th overall pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Over the course of the 2019 season, the Browns started Morgan Burnett and Damarious Randall at their safety spots. Both Burnett and Randall could become free agents if the Browns decide to opt-out of Burnett’s final year of his contract.
Given that, Cleveland could be in dire need of a replacement at either strong safety or free safety in 2020. That is why McKinney makes perfect sense for the Browns in the first round of the draft.
McKinney has spent the past three years at Alabama and has been a starter in the last two. In his junior season, McKinney finished with 95 tackles, three sacks, three interceptions, four forced fumbles, and a touchdown.
As a matter of fact, McKinney had the most tackles, sacks, interceptions, and forced fumbles of his Alabama career in 2019. Over the course of his collegiate career, the young safety has accumulated 175 tackles, six sacks, five interceptions, six forced fumbles, and two touchdowns.
While he was at Alabama, McKinney flashed his athleticism at the safety position. The talented safety definitely proved that his skill set can acclimate to the NFL pretty quickly.
McKinney showed at Alabama that he can make plays on the backend to create more opportunities for his offense. That should be a reason why Cleveland expresses interest in McKinney as a candidate to be selected with the 10th overall pick.
The Browns boasted the seventh-best pass defense (216.9 yards per game) and forced 14 interceptions (tied for eighth-most in the NFL). Considering that, why should Cleveland contemplate adding McKinney into the secondary?
As of this moment, the Browns don’t have a head coach in place. With that in mind, it’s doubtful that Steve Wilks returns as the defensive coordinator. Therefore, whoever takes the job next will want to have the best personnel as possible put in place.
Over the past few seasons, Cleveland has drafted well in the secondary; adding Denzel Ward and Greedy Williams. With the future of Burnett and Randall being undecided, it would be wise to replace them with a capable player.
In today’s NFL, it is valuable to have a versatile safety on the backend of your defense. Without a doubt, McKinney is capable of moving around the field to stop the run or pass.
Throughout recent history, safeties from Alabama tend to develop quickly in the NFL. The Browns should ponder drafting McKinney in the first round to add to the long list of successful safeties from Alabama.