By Michael Stewart/@golferbad
Introduction: This is part 5 of 10 in a series of player spotlights as the New York Giants could bolster their best safety tandem since Antrel Rolle and Kenny Phillips. Jabrill Pepper and rookie Xavier McKinney are projected to start for the Giants in 2020 as both could be dynamic players for the Giants. This article will focus on rookie Xavier McKinney who I believe will play a much bigger role than many expect.
McKinney has the versatility to play in the box as an extra linebacker or stay in coverage and defend the pass. New Defensive Coordinator Patrick Graham will be able to utilize McKinney’s talent in many ways to improve upon the Giants pass coverage and also in blitz packages. In recent years, former Giants safety Landon Collins collected 4 sacks in a season and I firmly believe that McKinney can match that total and eventually surpass it as I project he will have the same impact as Darwin James had in his rookie season with the Chargers.
Final Thoughts: McKinney is going to bring a special attitude to the Giants secondary; which should be contagious among his teammates; especially with Jabrill Peppers who will benefit immensely having McKinney playing alongside of him. The Giants were extremely happy that McKinney was still on the board when the Giants selected him with their 2nd round pick (#36) and by the middle of the season, many teams who passed on McKinney will have regrets doing so. I don’t think it’s a stretch making this statement that I believe McKinney has a very good chance of making the 2020 all rookie defensive team.