Each season, there’s a certain type of hype that can surround the rookies who are coming into the NFL, and it’s easy to get caught up in the excitement that surrounds players! Xavier McKinney is going into his sophomore season for the New York Giants.
Last season, he was one of the most sought-after defensive back prospects, and we saw a small glimpse of him after returning from his injury. Is he the next defensive back to become a 2021 IDP breakout candidate?
Xavier McKinney, DB, New York Giants – 2020 Statistics: 14 solos, 11 assists, 1 tackle-for-loss, 1 PD, and 1 interception
Xavier McKinney was one of the most highly touted safety prospects coming into the league last season. He had a very solid junior year at Alabama, where he registered 95 tackles and made big plays. He had three sacks and three interceptions his final year at Alabama. Xavier really is a jack of all trades, who is perfectly capable of playing both safety positions and slot cornerback.
Xavier is a player who is definitely capable of making an impact on multiple levels of the defense. He also has the ability to be used in the box on blitz packages or defending the run. These are a few types of traits I look for when I see a chance for a player to become a fantasy 2021 IDP breakout candidate.
Dalton finds Xavier McKinney in the end zone ‼️
— PFF (@PFF) January 3, 2021
The New York Giants were able to select him in second the round of the 2020 NFL draft, 36th overall. There was a lot of hype surrounding the Alabama safety prospect going into the 2020 training camp. Unfortunately, during the training camp, McKinney suffered an ankle injury that ended up keeping him out until late in the 2020 NFL season, making his debut in late November.
Xavier played limited snaps, as the Giants wanted to be careful about bringing back their prized rookie safety. The last four games of the 2020 season, McKinney was on the field for more than half the games, culminating in playing 89% of the snaps in the final game of the season against the Dallas Cowboys.
Xavier McKinney Rookie Season Highlights 2020 #Giants
— Mike (@Mike_NYY) April 12, 2021
Although he missed much of his rookie campaign, Xavier McKinney was able to make a limited impact towards the end of the season. He will certainly have a chance to compete for a starting role in New York’s defense coming into the 2021 NFL season. With such an opportunity, it puts him in a position to become a 2021 IDP breakout candidate.
Xavier’s athleticism was questioned a bit as he transferred into the NFL. He may not exactly be the next best safety in the league, but he will be viable for IDP on the Giants defense. McKinney will be given plenty of opportunities in New York to make IDP fantasy managers happy. He is a strong tackler and takes good angles on the ball carrier. Tackle points can make every IDP manager happy.
Xavier McKinney has two IDP notables as his biggest threats to his production. Logan Ryan and Jabril Peppers are both well known for the IDP accolades and are both capable of being viable for IDP fantasy managers. Like Ryan and Peppers, Xavier McKinney can be utilized in multiple positions on the backside of New York’s defense.
He’s a versatile playmaker, and it became clear towards the end of the 2020 season why the Giants decided to draft him in the second round. The trio could become a formidable group for NFL offenses to plan for and could each be IDP relevant in 2021. McKinney is my pick to be the strongest IDP asset of the three, though.
The Giants’ defense took a nice leap in 2020, and I expect them to take another in 2021. Players like Leonard Williams, Blake Martinez, and James Bradberry are returning, and New York also beefed up their secondary by adding Adoree Jackson. McKinney will potentially play the role of the third safety in Patrick Graham’s defense, which typically plays deep as a free safety and in the slot lining up against receivers.
I, on the other hand, believe McKinney will slide into the starting safety role opposite of Peppers, and Logan Ryan will become the hybrid player for Patrick Graham. The safety positions in New York are usually pretty viable for IDP purposes. I can see Xavier McKinney giving fantasy IDP managers weekly DB2 numbers.
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