August 28 was the last time New York Giants‘ second-round pick Xavier McKinney stepped on a football field for live practice. With high hopes going into the 2020 campaign, McKinney suffered a fractured foot while indoors due to inclement weather. As one of the more disappointing injuries of the season, the Giants have been surviving without him, still boasting one of the better defense in the NFL.
McKinney was the highest-rated safety from the 2020 NFL draft and represented a massive upgrade over Antoine Bethea, who featured for the Giants in 2019. The former Alabama star is capable of doing diverse things on defense, including stopping the run and dropping into deep coverage as a ball hawk. He had some issues with his tackling form in college, but fixing technical miscues is something NFL-level coaches are prepared to do.
Having missed the first seven weeks of the season, McKinney is making strides in his comeback this year from the fractured foot. Early reports indicate that he is already participating in workouts, however limited.
Head coach Joe Judge stated:
â€œHeâ€™s doing a really good job in his rehab. I know the trainers are pleased with the progress heâ€™s making. Obviously, everyone is on their own individual timetable, but I do know I see him in the weight room making progress.â€
Even players are boasting about the Giants’ draft pick:
Starting safety Logan Ryan, who signed with the Giants to supplement the loss of McKinney for the time being, had fantastic things to say about his recovery and rehabilitation. Despite the injury, McKinney has been out on the field, even in the rain, to get some extra work in. He’s quickly regaining his health, and I anticipate a minimum week 12 return, following the BYE week for the Giants.
— GiantsWFAN (@giantswfan) October 29, 2020
The return of McKinney will likely send second-year player Julian Love to the bench, who has started a free safety this season in his absence. Xavier is excellent in cover-1 defense and can move up to the line of scrimmage and attack against the run as well. He’s not afraid to sacrifice his body for the greater good of the team, playing aggressive football and utilizing his game speed and instincts to cover the length of the field.
Coordinator Patrick Graham will have a field day activating his qualities and pairing him with Ryan and strong safety Jabrill Peppers, even if it’s for the final few weeks of the season.