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Alabama’s Xavier McKinney reminds evaluators why he’s a top safety prospect

LSU safety Grant Delpit has seen his NFL draft stock fluctuate this season.

Evaluators are still trying to figure out whether Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons is a linebacker or a defensive back.

But Alabama’s Xavier McKinney has remained steady, and his performance leading up to the Iron Bowl has draft evaluators taking a closer look at the 6-foot-1, 200-pound junior safety.

McKinney had three tackles, 1 tackle for loss, 1 forced fumble and two interceptions, including one that was returned 81 yards for a touchdown, in Alabama’s 66-3 win over Western Carolina.

Overall, McKinney has a team-leading 77 tackles, 4.5 tackles for loss, 2 sacks, 3 INTs, 4 pass breakups and three forced fumbles.

For his efforts, McKinney was named to the Pro Football Focus Eckrich Team of the Week.

“Sure it was against Western Carolina, but the ball skills and wherewithal that McKinney showed during the tune-up performance against the Catamounts was nothing short of dominant,” the report says. “… That’s the kind of performance you’d expect from an elite safety in the Crimson Tide’s prep game before the Iron Bowl next week.”

McKinney is rated as the No. 21 prospect in ESPN draft analyst Todd McShay’s latest top 32 draft board.

“McKinney has become the guy in the Alabama secondary. He is a real leader on defense, getting teammates lined up in the right scheme and then playing hard and showing toughness on every snap,” McShay wrote. “… He shows really good range in coverage and fills allies in the run game.”

McKinney is the No. 71 prospect in the latest Fanspeak big board.



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