Games Evaluated: 2019 Vs: Arkansas, LSU, Auburn
Report By: Chaz Turnbow
Deep Speed: 7.40
Fluid movement and very good quick twitch movement allow him to move on his spots in zone coverage and stay with a receiver in phase. His explosiveness is apparent in his closing quickness in run fills and in when he has to get to his top speed to make a play on the ball at range. Lacks high-end size/length to compete with bigger bodies at the catch point consistently. Plays under control and doesn't waste movement or take false steps and gets himself in the position to make plays.
COVERAGE ABILITY: 7.50
Man Press: 6.10
Man Off: 7.90
Hand Fighting: 7.00
Hips/Turn Ability: 7.90
He has been deployed by Alabama as a single high S, box S, slot CB, and has even rushed off the edge as a 2 point OLB. This versatility gives him experience in a multitude of zone responsibilities including a deep middle, buzz, curl flat, and middle hook. In these coverages as well as off man, McKinney uses very good hips to latch onto a receiver in his zone or in off man to stay in phase with them.
Closing Quickness: 8.30
Ball Skills: 7.60
Route/Play Diagnosis: 8.50
Excellent ability to read what's happening in front of him, and will use minimal hesitation to disrupt the offense's play. Is great at tracking the ball and has a natural feel of timing his plays on the ball at the catch point.
RUN SUPPORT: 7.70
Quickness Upfield: 8.70
Fight Through Blocks: 7.00
McKinney comes upfield to fill gaps in run support with outstanding quickness. Is good at shedding blocks not thrown by smaller WRs, however, he will get moved off his spot by bigger WR and TE, however. Is a very good form tackler, however, he consistently misses ball carriers in 1 on 1 opportunities in space.
Doesn't look to get physical more than he needs to, which can be a negative to those who want their safeties to be able to lay the wood. He might not have produced as many splash plays as many would like during his time at Alabama, but he was consistent and was successful at the variety of roles he filled for their defense.
Exceptionally intelligent and instinctual player, who understood and excelled in a variety of roles in Alabama's defense. His versatility and understanding of all the roles of the defense helped him be a leader of that unit and maximize all of his teammate’s talent.
McKinney's best attribute is his advanced overall understanding of the game at such a young age. He has experience playing all positions in the secondary outside of outside corner, and he was consistent and performed well in those roles against both the run and the pass. Once he diagnoses the play he quickly gets into position to either fill his gap or take away a target for the QB. He has no issue staying attached to a receivers hip in phase, also is competitive and has great timing at the catch point. He is also a very good form tackler who finished 10th in the SEC with 95 tackles, who has a nose for the football, as he forced 4 fumbles which led the SEC.
His athleticism isn't top tier, so that limits his ceiling at the next level. He isn't an overly physical player, which isn't what you want to hear about a safety. The lack of physicality is most apparent when he takes on blockers with bigger bodies. Though he is a very good tackler, he struggles to consistently bring down ball carriers in space.
Xavier McKinney is a versatile player who will fit with any team looking for a player on a zone heavy defense that they can use in a variety of alignments and still get high-quality play. I believe he projects best as primarily a single-high safety who can move around to disguise coverages and even be used as a blitzer. He will be a solid player who can be a building block for a secondary and will certainly be a day 1 pick at worst an early day 2 selection.