NFL Draft: New York Giants Luck Into Xavier McKinney

John Fennelly
New York Giants, Dave Gettleman
New York Giants, Dave Gettleman

All good things come to those who wait and that applied to the New York Giants on Friday night in Round Two of the 2020 NFL Draft.

The Giants had the 36th overall selection and were intent on obtaining more Day Two draft capital via a trade. They were just about pull the trigger on a deal when one of the most prized players of the draft – Alabama safety Xavier McKinney – fell into their laps.

“The first thing I’ll tell you is we had made up our mind that if Xavier fell to us, we were taking him,” said general manager Dave Gettleman. “So, we did have something. If Xavier had been gone, we did have a team willing to move up and we would’ve moved back. But we felt the value of getting Xavier there was just too good to pass up.”

McKinney was rated on of the nation’s top safeties but tumbled out of the first round due to concerns over his 40 time (4.63) at this year’s NFL Combine. McKinney said he was experiencing cramps on that day. The Giants saw right through that.

“It’s speculation, (but) that’s the only thing we can think of,” Gettleman said when asked if that was the real reason McKinney fell out of Round One. “Very frankly, I’ve said it to our scouts, it’s how fast does a guy play? It’s about how he carries his pads. It’s not what he does in his underwear on a track, it’s play speed. Way back in the day when San Francisco had their unbelievable run and Bill Walsh was running that club, they were not in a scouting combine. They did not care what a guy ran. They talked about play speed all the time. I think it worked pretty well for them. I am a big believer in that, it’s about how fast does a guy play. If it was just about 40-yard dash times, then we would go watch track meets.”

McKinney will be paired by the Giants with Jabrill Peppers, James Bradberry and D’Andre Baker in the starting secondary, a situation that has them salivating a bit.

“You know, it’s kind of funny. Everybody is playing so much 11 and 10 personnel and you’re in sub 55 to 70 percent of the time,” said Gettleman. “You can never have enough DBs. You know, Bradberry is young, he’s 26, I believe, or 25. Jabrill (Peppers) is young. All of these kids we drafted last year and now Xavier this year, we’re putting together, I think, a very talented young group that just has the ability to play football at the NFL level. We’ve just got to get them rolling.”

And roll they will.