One has to surmise there’s a bit of bias when it comes to Alabama head coach Nick Saban giving an assessment of safety Xavier McKinney‘s NFL prospects. Then again, Saban’s track record of producing NFL-ready players is noted — Josh Jacobs, Rashaan Evans and safeties Eddie Jackson and Minkah Fitzpatrick are some of the more recent ‘Bama products to have gotten off to sensational NFL starts.
Saban believes McKinney’s rookie season with the Giants should see him continue the streak of quick of success in the NFL for Tide products.
“I think it’ll be helpful to him because we do – when I was coach at the Dolphins or Bill Belichick’s defensive coordinator in Cleveland — we do a lot of the same stuff here from a coverage standpoint, from a secondary standpoint,” Saban said on the “Giants Huddle” podcast, via the Giants team website. “So our guys typically make good adjustments. I know a few years ago we had six guys sign NFL contracts and five of them ended up starting as rookies. Even though this will be a transition, I think most of the things that ‘X’ is going to be exposed to, he’s probably done. They might call it something different. I think it’ll be an easy transition for him.”
In many respects, McKinney will be looking to not just improve an ailing Giants secondary but also replace another former Alabama standout in Landon Collins. Collins is now with the Redskins, but during his four-year run with the Giants, he earned three Pro Bowl trips and started every game of his rookie season.
As a junior at Alabama, McKinney had 95 tackles, three sacks, three interceptions and four forced fumbles. It was a hugely successful season. And his college coach – who has six national titles to his credit – believes that success will come in McKinney’s next season, even if it is in the NFL.