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Giants Now: Cynthia Frelund names Xavier McKinney most underrated Giant


Cynthia Frelund picks Xavier McKinney as most underrated Giant

After ending his rookie year with a game-clinching interception against the Dallas Cowboys during the 2020 season, Xavier McKinney put together a strong sophomore campaign.

McKinney is now being acknowledged for his performance last season.

NFL Network analytics expert Cynthia Frelund chose one underappreciated player from each NFC team heading into the 2022 season. For the Giants, Frelund went with the third-year safety.

As Frelund writes, "McKinney earned PFF's 12th-best coverage grade (78.4) among 113 qualifying safeties in 2021. Computer vision shows that when the Giants deployed man concepts, he was at his best, decreasing opposing passer ratings by an average of 22.2 points. McKinney, who led the team in interceptions last season (5), improved over the course of the campaign, and it stands to reason that he'll be asked to do even more in Year 3, especially given the departure of James Bradberry."

McKinney played in all 17 games last season and finished the year among the team leaders in several categories.

His five interceptions were a team-high, while his 10 pass breakups and 93 combined tackles ranked second and third, respectively. Additionally, McKinney had the Giants' only defensive touchdown of the season with his 41-yard interception return for a score against the Las Vegas Raiders in Week 9.

McKinney now gets to play under the guidance of defensive coordinator Wink Martindale. While Martindale led Baltimore's defense, the Ravens saw strong play from several different safeties, including Eric Weddle, Tony Jefferson, Earl Thomas, and Chuck Clark. Martindale will put McKinney in a position where the young safety can lean on his strengths.

View the top photos of safety Xavier McKinney's time with the Giants.

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