Xavier McKinney has big shoes to fill.
Five Alabama safeties have been drafted since 2015.
Even Deionte Thompson and Ronnie Harrison have made major contributions for their teams. Thompson played in 22 percent of Arizona’s snaps as a rookie last season, according to FootballOutsiders, despite being drafted in the fifth round. Harrison, a third-round pick by Jacksonville in 2018, played in nearly 80 percent of his team’s snaps last season.
The 6-foot, 201-pound McKinney is the next safety in line for Alabama.
Alabama safety Xavier McKinney called me out. And he's not wrong … pic.twitter.com/J1hj9SnYFo
— Mel Kiper Jr. (@MelKiperESPN) April 7, 2020
On the one hand, you could say expectations are unnecessarily high for McKinney due to the past success of the aforementioned former Alabama safeties.
On the other hand, recent history suggests McKinney will have a major impact his rookie year, regardless of whether he’s drafted in Rounds 1 or 2. And that’s what makes him a safe pick.
Jake Rigdon (firstname.lastname@example.org) covers the NFL draft for Fanspeak and the On The Clock, which is the only NFL draft simulator that allows you to customize and use your own big board while giving you control over trades.