General Manager Dave Gettleman, normally the butt of the media’s jokes, has been applauded for his strategic handling and overall execution of the draft. The rave reviews and positive draft grades have since littered the internet over the past few days.
The latest take from ESPN analyst Mel Kiper Jr. will only add to the fire of New York’s dominant draft.
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Mel Kiper Jr. High on McKinney
Following the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft, draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. took to ESPN to break down the draft class in its entirety, pegging the best picks, steals, and sleepers selected between Thursday and Saturday.
One player that stuck out as glaring steal in the class was none other than the Giants’ Xavier McKinney, who Kiper is clearly fond of.
“Xavier McKinney has Pro Bowl potential,” Kiper wrote on Monday. “There were teams looking at him in the 20s, but he lasted until the second round. He’s a good fit next to Jabrill Peppers.”
McKinney’s fall out of the 1st-Round likely had little to do with his talent, but rather NFL teams as a whole holding other positions, most specifically cornerback, to a higher value.
The Giants Were All-in on McKinney
Once Day 1 of the 2020 NFL Draft was officially in the books, there was no more glaring name left available than McKinney. With the Giants holding the fourth-selection in the 2nd-Round, the idea of selecting McKinney was certainly tossed around. However, some questioned the potential fit.
This was not due to McKinney’s skillset, but rather New York’s current slew of safeties. Jabrill Peppers and Julian Love appeared to be entrenched as the team’s starters entering 2020. This led many to project Big Blue to instead opt for a defensive player to help improve their front seven, ala Wisconsin’s Zack Baun or Akeem Davis-Gaither of Appalachian State.
However, according to Gettleman, the team was sold on McKinney being the selection in Round 2.
We had made up our mind that if Xavier fell to us, we were taking him. So, we did have something. If Xavier had been gone, we did have a team willing to move up and we would’ve moved back. But we felt the value of getting Xavier there was just too good to pass up.
We had Xavier rated, we had a first-round value on him, and we’re absolutely thrilled to get him. He’s a great kid, he’s smart, he plays smart, he lines up the backend for us, he’s versatile, you can put him down low, he can cover tight ends, he’s got ball skills, and he’s a good tackler. So, we’re excited and just feel we’ve got a real quality person and player in this 2nd- Round pick.