The 2020 NFL Draft had numerous notable selections over its three-day span. With teams landing seamless fits in the early rounds, to finding potential gems in the late-rounds, sprinkled in with a few head-scratching selections here and there.
However, if you had the choice of naming the very best selection in the entire draft, chances are the majority would go with a prospect who heard their name called early on, say a Joe Burrow or an Isaiah Simmons for instance. Nope, not according to NFL Network’s Charley Casserly.
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Xavier McKinney, the Best Pick in the Draft?
Casserly, a three-time Super Bowl Champion over his 23-year stint working in the Washington Redskins front office, opted instead to give that honor to a former division rival in the New York Giants and their theft of snagging Alabama safety Xavier McKinney in Round 2.
Xavier McKinney Alabama safety in the 2nd-Round to the New York Giants, why? I interviewed 12 teams from the end of the season to before the draft, they all had him as their top safety. He was my top safety. I gave him a 1st-Round grade. You get him in the 2nd. What do I like? Natural free safety when he’s deep. He’s got range, got instincts, can get to the ball. He’s a phsycial tackler, he’ll come down to the box and tackle and you’ll see him run with tight ends. I saw him in press coverage. 4.63 (forty) he ran, so what? I think he’s faster, but it’s all about instincts when you play safety.
The Rave Reviews for McKinney Keep Piling Up
While Casserly may be the first to come out and peg McKinney simply as the best pick in the entire draft, the McKinney selection has come with its fair share of supporters. ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. named the safety as one of the top steals in the class and a potential Pro Bowler. Heavy draft experts gave the Giants an A+ grade for the selection of McKinney.
However, the most notable and eye-catching support may very well come from Pro Football Focus, who notoriously comes away more times than not unimpressed with the way Dave Gettleman has run the show in New York.
Yet, from their recent breakdown of the Giants’ 2nd-Round pick, it’s clear that even they can’t deny the steal that McKinney was.
PICK 36 — S XAVIER MCKINNEY, NEW YORK GIANTS
PFF Big Board rank: 19
When you heard the word “versatile” all throughout this draft process, Isaiah Simmons was the first name to come to mind. But another should have, too: Xavier McKinney. There have been only five safeties to play over 450 snaps in the box, slot and at free safety over the past two years, and only one of those five produced 70.0-plus grades at all three of those alignments — Xavier McKinney. Whether he was playing in coverage, rushing the passer or trying to stop the run, McKinney performed at a high level and produced grades above 79.0 in all facets in each of the last two years.