The New York Giants look to fill an opening at safety! Did they find that answer for 2020 and beyond? Here’s who it is and why they will roll with the rookie!
It’s that time of year when rookies are all the rage. The NFL draft is complete, we know where everyone landed and fantasy owners are consumed with rookie drafts. We all want to know how each rookie fits in with their new team and what role they will have. While every team looks ahead to the future, some of them roll with the rookies right away. We continue our roll with the rookie series by taking a closer look at the New York Giants, to see which rookies they may roll with as day one starters
The New York Giants have an opening at the safety position. They need to fill it after they let veteran Antoine Bethea hit free agency. With Bethea gone and not a lot else talent-wise on the roster that they would feel confident in, they looked at securing a top option in the 2020 NFL draft. They selected free safety Xavier McKinney from Alabama in the 2nd round with the 36th overall pick. The Giants have an opening for a starter and used high draft capital on McKinney. It makes perfect sense for them to roll with the rookie.
McKinney was graded, by most, as the top safety in the class and the Giants drafted him as such. McKinney’s talent is the first thing that jumps out at you, but it’s his versatility that raises his value. He had snap splits at box safety (285), free safety (271), and slot corner (227). He made impact plays all over the field. McKinney is a natural defender in coverage and excels as an extra edge rusher. His former coach at Alabama compared him to and used him in the Minkah Fitzpatrick role during his time with the Crimson Tide. For me, McKinney is a much better player. McKinney has the leadership qualities, instincts, and talent to be a perennial All-Pro for the Giants for a long time. Below are his senior stats and makes him definitely a rookie to roll with.
Senior stats: 13 games, 95 tackles, 5½ tackles for a loss, 3 sacks, 3 interceptions, 5 pass breakups, 1 touchdown, 4 forced fumble, and 1 fumble recovery
Provided by: College Football Reference
Why do I think New York will roll with the rookie?
I stated earlier that New York let veteran Antoine Bethea leave as a free agent That creates a vacancy at the free safety spot that has to be filled. Look at the other options the Giants have on the roster. Second-year man Julian Love is more of a corner and may make the move to that position. Other options include Nate Ebner and Rashaun Gaulden who have been nothing more than depth pieces. They could possibly look and see who’s available in the free-agent pool, but I think that would be a last resort type option for them. With all these options, all signs point to McKinney being the starter, as the Giants roll with the rookie.
What does this mean in the fantasy football world? I believe he’ll be an early contender for defensive rookie of the year honors. That means he would have put together one hell of a season. He landed in a situation that has a lot of talent around him, so he won’t feel pressured to carry the team and he can just relax and play free. In this same role last season, Bethea produced 110 tackles, 81 solos, two tackles for a loss, one interception, and six pass breakups. I can see Mckinney posting similar tackle numbers, but I expect him to produce more impact plays than Bethea. The Giants should roll with the rookie and use him all over the field just like Alabama did and take advantage of every match-up they can.
In rookie drafts, McKinney will cost you an early-round pick if you intend on drafting him. In my current IDP rookie draft database, he is being selected as the first safety off the board and at an average of 36th overall. That places his draft value somewhere in the 3rd round of most rookie drafts. Honestly, I love that value for a potential starter at safety. As a comparison, Mckinney is being drafted just two spots ahead of fellow rookie Jeremy Chinn (38th). McKinney has slipped a bit lately to the 40-45 range. For me, that makes his value even better. Place a target on McKinney in the 3rd round and adjust as needed. If rookie IDPs begin to come off the board sooner than expected, then be prepared to take him a little earlier.