Alex Kielar | December 3rd, 2019
Xavier McKinney, SAF, Alabama #15
Weight: 200 lbs
McKinney is in his second year at the starting safety role after a breakout year in his sophomore season last year (74 TOT tackles, six for loss, three sacks, two INT, one INT return for touchdown, ten passes defended, two forced fumbles) and he has had another solid year through the regular season. He has a lot of versatility and has the length to even play snaps at linebacker with great tackling ability (leads Alabama in tackles). His versatility will make him a very sought after prospect in the upcoming draft.
My grading will be based on ten categories with ten points each to total 100 points. The criteria for safeties is Frame, Speed/Burst, Strength, Tackling, Agility/Fluidity, Instincts, Coverage, Run Support, Football IQ, and Ball Skills.
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|Frame||8/10 McKinney has a pretty standard frame for a safety, and even has the strength to blow by offensive lineman to make tackles and get pressure on the quarterback.|
|Speed/Burst||9.5/10 McKinney flies around the field and has unreal closing speed, always exploding to the ball carrier with straight-line speed. He is a huge problem for blockers to contain.|
|Strength||8/10 McKinney has a ton of strength and has the ability to burst through the line as the eighth man in the box and makes open-field tackles.|
|Tackling||9.5/10 McKinney is a very strong tackler and he leads the Crimson Tide with 77 total tackles this season along with 4.5 for loss and two sacks.|
|Agility/Fluidity||9/10 McKinney moves very fluidly and can make adjustments on the fly while taking all the right angles on the ball and in coverage.|
|Instincts||9.5/10 McKinney has some of the best instincts I’ve ever seen, reading what the offense is doing on every play very quickly and wrecking havoc.|
|Coverage||9/10 To go along with his instincts, McKinney has very solid coverage skills. He hasn’t been seen much in man-to-man coverage, but in zone he can cover tons of ground and be in just in the right position to make a play on the ball.|
|Run Support||9/10 Not only very strong in coverage, but also strong in stopping the run. McKinney has fantastic open-field tackling ability and bails out his teammates by making great tackles at the second level. He works the hardest to wrap up a runner with great form and going low.|
|Football IQ||8.5/10 McKinney is a very smart player which he shows on every play. He seems to know exactly where to go and what to do to stop the offense from moving downfield.|
|Ball Skills||9/10 Even when a quarterback thinks he has a lane to through in towards McKinney, he almost never does. There are a number of plays with McKinney in coverage that he gets a hand on the ball or at least defends the pass very strongly.|
|Overall||89/100 McKinney is a very strong, fast, and versatile safety. He has outstanding tackling ability while also having tremendous ball and coverage skills. He has the skillset to give any NFL team a very strong defensive back and make an instant impact. He is a lot of the time the smartest player on the field. |
Round Grade: First Round
Projected Draft Position: Mid-to-late first round
Pro comparison: Minkah Fitzpatrick
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Main Image Credit: Embed from Getty Images