14. Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Xavier McKinney, S, Alabama
Analysis by Arrowhead Addict contributor Grant Tuttle
The biggest NFL offseason news was Tom Brady and his decision to leave the New England dynasty behind him and move on to the Buccaneers in beautiful Tampa. With a decent offensive line and a multitude of talented receivers, the Buccaneers will likely use this pick on a defensive player that can contribute right away.
The Buccaneers have some talent at cornerback, but a lack thereof at safety. With the board falling the way that it did, Xavier McKinney fits the bill for Bruce Arians and his team.
McKinney is widely regarded as the best safety in the draft and has serious potential to be a top-tier player in the NFL. As a versatile safety, the Bucs could use McKinney in the slot as well as a deep safety—similarly to the way that the Chiefs use Tyrann Mathieu. Tampa Bay will need someone on the back end that can make big plays and that is precisely what McKinney offers. According to PFF, McKinney finished tied for 3rd in overall coverage stops. This would put him in the upper tier of pass defenders in the draft and ensures that he could make an immediate impact on the Buccaneer defense.
While the Alabama safety is an excellent coverage player, he plays as physically as a cornerback, which is to say that he does not necessarily tackle as well as one might hope. He is not extremely effective in the box, nor overtly athletic. While this may make teams second-guess themselves, McKinney has very good instincts that cannot be taught. If the Bucs want to capitalize on their few years with Tom Brady, they will add players in the draft like Xavier McKinney, who can make an immediate impact. (Grant Tuttle)
Other Players Considered: CJ Henderson, CB, Florida; Jedrick Wills, OT, Alabama