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Safe pick: Xavier McKinney should continue Alabama’s run of safety dominance

Xavier McKinney has big shoes to fill.

Five Alabama safeties have been drafted since 2015.

Of note:

  • Pittsburgh’s Minkah Fitzpatrick, the No. 11 overall pick in 2018 by Miami, is considered one of the top safeties in the AFC.
  • Chicago’s Eddie Jackson, taken with the No. 112 overall pick (fourth round) in 2017, is considered one of the top safeties in the NFC and recently signed a four-year, $58.4 million contract.
  • Fitzpatrick, Jackson and Landon Collins, who was the first pick of the second round by the Giants in 2015, have all been named All Pro at least once. Collins signed a six-year, $84 million contract with Washington last season.

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.

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.

Defense & Fumbles Table
Tackles Def Int Fumbles
Year School Conf Class Pos G Solo Ast Tot Loss Sk Int Yds Avg TD PD FR Yds TD FF
*2017 Alabama SEC FR DB 4 4 2 6 1.5 0.0 0 0 0 0 0 0
*2018 Alabama SEC SO DB 15 45 29 74 6.0 3.0 2 23 11.5 1 10 0 2
*2019 Alabama SEC JR DB 13 59 36 95 5.5 3.0 3 78 26.0 1 5 1 4
Career Alabama 108 67 175 13.0 6.0 5 101 20.2 2 15 1 6

Jake Rigdon (jake@sydwriting.com) 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.

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