Patriots Mock Draft Pick: Alabama Safety Xavier McKinney

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The 2020 NFL Draft will take place in Paradise, Nevada in April.  The Cincinnati Bengals will occupy the number one overall pick and likely take LSU QB Joe Burrow with the first overall selection.  While the Bengals begin to figure out their mess in Cincy, Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick will begin to retool the New England Patriots. 

Photo courtesy of usatoday.com
The Patriots have needs on the offensive line, at wide receiver, they could use depth in the secondary and then there is the obvious elephant in the room… quarterback.  Now that Tom Brady has elected free agency, this leaves the team with backup Jarrett Stidham to potentially take the reigns.  The team could look to draft a replacement as well, but unless they trade up for a top prospect, it’s likely they’ll sign a veteran to pair with Stidham. 

The Patriots were elite for the first half of the season but began to tail off as the season would wind down.  The Patriots have a veteran group led by Stephon Gilmore, Devin McCourty and Patrick Chung.  Gilmore has been a shutdown corner for almost his entire time in Foxboro.  McCourty has been a consistent piece in the secondary since he was selected out of Rutgers back in 2010. 

The 2019 secondary depth chart featured Gilmore, McCourty, Chung, Jonathan Jones, J.C. Jackson, Jason McCourty, Duron Harmon, Joejuan Williams and Nate Ebner. 

The Patriots would be wise to begin to add more youth to that group and draft Alabama safety Xavier McKinney in the first round this year.  The Alabama junior defensive back has been a dynamic player this season for the Crimson Tide.  McKinney led the team with 95 tackles this past season.  McKinney also was tops on the team in forced fumbles with four, one fumble recovery and three interceptions. 

Alabama Crimson Tide gear at Fanatics.comWhile at Alabama, McKinney was able to flash his athleticism at the safety position.  McKinney would be a nice replacement for the veteran McCourty.  McKinney could develop behind McCourty or serve as his replacement if the Patriots elect to release the veteran for salary implications or if the veteran elects to retire - which he has mentioned could be an option. 

McKinney’s play has turned him into a legitimate first-rounder, and he could fall to the end of the first round to New England. 

Many mock drafts are showing the Patriots drafting McKinney in the first round.  ESPN’s Mel Kiper has the Patriots selecting McKinney in his mock draft.  Kiper had this to say about McKinney: 

“At this time last year, I slotted in Daniel Jones as my projection to the Patriots in Round 1.  And while I’m not ready to go quarterback here, the Patriots do have an offseason of uncertainty with Tom Brady not under contract, which means they could take a close look at these signal-callers through April (though I do like fourth-round pick Jarrett Stidham).  They have a few other important free agents, though, including safety Devin McCourty and linebacker Jamie Collins, who had a resurgent season.  

That’s why I like the fit of McKinney, my top-ranked safety after I took a closer look at his 2019 tape.  He’s a complete player and is versatile, which is a trait Bill Belichick values.  McKinney also has another thing Belichick likes: He played for Belichick’s buddy Nick Saban.”

If the Patriots lose some key veterans on defense, they could look to a player like McKinney to begin and rebuild a championship defense. 




Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisHenrique

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Boston Sports Syndicate: Patriots Mock Draft Pick: Alabama Safety Xavier McKinney
Patriots Mock Draft Pick: Alabama Safety Xavier McKinney
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