Giants rookie safety Xavier McKinney fractured the fifth metatarsal on his left foot, per a club announcement. The second-round pick out of Alabama will undergo surgery on Wednesday afternoon and he’s likely to miss at least a couple months of action.
McKinney was expected to be a contributor in the Giants’ secondary, serving as the understudy to Julian Love at free safety. Instead, he’ll likely start the year on injured reserve before, hopefully, rejoining the club down the stretch.
Like Landon Collins in 2016, the Giants used an early second-round pick to draft McKinney out of Alabama. The standout Crimson Tide safety was on the first-round radar, starting for the past two seasons and registering 95 tackles, three sacks and three interceptions in 2019. He represents a key long-term piece alongside contract-year safety Jabrill Peppers.
This represents another major blow to a Giants secondary already without 2019 first-round pick DeAndre Baker, who currently resides on the commissioner’s exempt list. The Giants ranked 31st in pass-defense DVOA last season and did not make a concerted effort to upgrade their edge rush. These setbacks will make it difficult for the team to excel in this department, even considering the team’s pricey James Bradberry addition.
Several experienced veteran safeties are on the market, though the Giants do not profile as the kind of team who would win an Earl Thomas pursuit at this juncture. In addition to the recently released All-Pro, Eric Reid, Tony Jefferson, Reshad Jones and Clayton Geathers are available. The Giants did not re-sign 36-year-old Antoine Bethea, who started 16 games for them last season.
The Giants also lost linebacker David Mayo, who will go under the knife following a meniscus tear in his left knee. Luckily, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com says Mayo will just need a meniscus trim rather than a full repair, so he should be able to return in about three weeks (Twitter link). The sixth-year defender started a career-high 13 games for the Giants last season, making 82 tackles.
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