The New York Giants may be struggling this season with a 4â€“7 record, but they have several players with an upward trajectory and a future with the team.
In the Giants’ most recent went over the Philadelphia Eagles, the defense made a significant impression, holding Philly to just seven points, blanking them in the first half for the first time this season. Patrick Graham’s unit held quarterback Jalen Hurts to just 129 yards through the air and three interceptions, good for a 17.3 QBR. While the pass rush and run defense were spotty, the coverage was incredible, forcing Hurts to make wayward throws and take unnecessary risks where defensive backs were ready to take advantage.
However, one secondary piece in specific had another stand-out performance. Second-year safety Xavier McKinney finished the contest with eight total tackles, two passes defended, and an interception. Xavier dropped an interception on the final drive of the game, but made a streaking run from the free safety spot to undercut a throw to the middle of the field.
The second half of his season has been incredible, posting elite grades over the last three contests. McKinney earned a league-high among safeties 92.2 overall defensive grade this week, per PFF. He also posted a 90.5 coverage grade and 84.2 tackling grade, making two stops and allowing just 14 yards on one reception in coverage. All year, McKinney has only given up 229 yards and has five interceptions to his name, the most of any Giants defensive back by a large margin.
After suffering a fractured foot during his rookie season, McKinney has used the past year to make up for lost time, and he is finally looking like an established player with an understanding of the NFL game. X-man’s game speed and reaction timing have improved the past few weeks significantly, as he comprehends opposing quarterbacks and their tendencies.
At this rate, McKinney is on pace to be a Pro Bowler in the coming years, and heâ€™s already in line for his first appearance this season. At 6’1″ and 200 pounds, McKinney has a ton of potential left to unveil, and at 23-years-old, the Giants have found themselves a budding star in the secondary. With fantastic corners in James Bradberry and Adoree Jackson, all the Giants need is a premier edge rusher to give them the last piece to the puzzle.
While the defense has been playing phenomenal as of late, the offense has lagged behind, but this upcoming off-season offers the Giants an opportunity to change course and correct their wrongdoings on the offensive line.