Analysts Peter Schrager and Daniel Jeremiah went head-to-head in a video mock draft where the former had even-numbered teams and the latter odd. Because the Chiefs are reigning Super Bowl champions, they have the last pick in the first round at number 32. With his pick, Schrager chose Alabama safety Xavier McKinney, who was a pivotal force in Nick Saban’s defense and someone who be nothing short of promising in his NFL career.
In his two seasons with the SEC powerhouse, McKinney recorded 15 batted passes, five interceptions, six forced fumbles, six sacks, and 13 tackles for loss.
McKinney Drawing Comparisons to an NFL Great
The 21-year-old hasn’t even taken his official first post-college snap and is already being compared to an NFL great. In his analysis of McKinney, Albert Breer of Sports Illustrated says a top league evaluator likened the 21-year-old to Baltimore Ravens safety Earl Thomas.
Breer writes: “One player who got more love than I expected when I was calling around this week: Alabama S Xavier McKinney. I got an Earl Thomas comp out of one of the NFL’s most respected evaluators, and not a lot of disagreement when I ran that by a couple of other veteran evaluators. Another called him ‘premium … one of the best safeties I’ve ever watched.’ Teams love his athleticism and his versatility to play up, back or in the slot. LSU’s Grant Delpit came into the season considered the class’s best safety by a healthy amount, but McKinney has flown by him (part of that, of course, is that Delpit had a shaky final season with the Tigers).”
Considering Thomas helped lead the Seattle Seahawks to their first Super Bowl title in franchise history in 2014, that’s some lofty praise for the Georgia native.
Chiefs Could Potentially Save $4 Million
Should the Chiefs opt to beef their defense in this year’s first round, it could potentially mean the end for veteran Daniel Sorensen, who has been with Kansas City since they selected him as an undrafted free agent in 2014. The 30-year-old is currently on a four-year, $16 million contract that’s set to end in 2021. Should the Chiefs sever ties with him before the beginning of this upcoming campaign, they save $4 million.
The Chiefs notably selected Juan Thornhill in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft (63rd overall). The former Virginia Cavalier tore his ACL against the Los Angeles Chargers on December 29, 2019, ending his rookie season shortly before their historic postseason run. While the 24-year-old is expected to return when the Chiefs begin their title defense, adding McKinney to an already impressive safety unit is not a bad idea.