The New York Giants have a new hole to fill on defense following the departure of starting safety Julian Love. New York had an opportunity to match the contract offer that Love received from the Seattle Seahawks but chose not to, allowing their team captain to sign with Seattle (per Dan Duggan of The Athletic).
The 2023 NFL Draft may provide the Giants with a well of options at the safety position. Without Love in the lineup, New York will be searching for a safety to pair with Xavier McKinney in the upcoming draft. One safety prospect in this year’s draft class has a close connection to McKinney, which could make him a top target for the Giants.
Jordan Battle describes Xavier McKinney as a “great mentor”
Alabama safety prospect Jordan Battle has a close connection to New York Giants star safety Xavier McKinney. The two safeties briefly shared the field in 2019 at Alabama. McKinney, who was drafted by the Giants in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, served as a “mentor” to battle during his junior year with the Crimson Tide.
“Another one of those great mentors,” Battle told reporters at the 2023 NFL Scouting Combine. “A lot of people don’t know, Xavier McKinney, he was still in the dorms when I got there. So, I don’t think he ever moved out of the dorms. So, that was great. … I always remember he had a husky. … He helped me understand the playbook faster.”
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McKinney has since established himself as a leader on the Giants’ defense. He stands out as the top talent in Big Blue’s secondary heading into the 2023 season. But, without Julian Love in the lineup, McKinney is in need of a new partner in crime on the back end of the defense. Jordan Battle is warm to the idea of joining McKinney on the back end.
“Yeah, it would be great. Me and X still talk to this day. He’s always on the game, I’m a big gamer guy, too. So, that would be a great linkup,” Battle said.
Jordan Battle is currently projected as a day-two pick in this year’s draft. He could be an option for New York in the second or third round.
Battle recorded 71 total tackles and one interception in 2022 as a senior. He is described by The Draft Network as a “versatile defensive back that has played both strong and free safety,” which makes him a perfect fit in Giants DC Wink Martindale’s “positionless” defense.