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Hometown Hot Takes: NFL Draft reactions and analysis of Alabama’s 2nd round selections

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As busy as the first round was, the second round was almost as productive for Crimson Tide players

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Grown. Ass. Man.

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Raekwon Davis, Miami Dolphins

Reactions to the Davis pick repeat many of the same sentiments that Alabama fans have made over the past two seasons: mixed results.

He’s an elite athlete that can get into the backfield; he’s a great run-stuffer; he’s powerful and quick...but, you just really want to see more consistency and productivity out of someone with his build and speed and skills.

“He was all over the backfield in 2017, but hasn’t made nearly as many plays — against the run or pass — since then. Despite possessing unique traits and the potential to dominate, his upside could be a moving target based upon maturity level and continued growth as a rusher. He should be a first-round pick who can come in and start right away for an odd or even front defense.

But, Coach Brian Flores — like so many before him — fell in love with Davis’ potential:

“I think when people talk production, they want to talk sacks. Brian has mentioned it before, this kid has created a lot of opportunities. He’s had plays where he’s been blowing up stuff.” Grier added, “The one thing he is: he’s big, physical, tough, he stops the run and I think as a kid, he’s matured over the years. We were really happy to get him. We didn’t have any qualms about him and I know Brian and the coaching staff and the scouting staff were really excited. We all had him rated as a high-rated player for us.”

Was Davis’ lack of productivity borne of motivation? Maturation? That is anyone’s guess. But, at this level, he is going to have to put in the work every day and every snap. That said, not a single GM flagged Davis’ attitude or effort, so perhaps he is already growing into the role.

Poll

Grade the Pick — Raekwon Davis, Miami Dolphins

This poll is closed

  • 17%
    A
    (62 votes)
  • 51%
    B
    (183 votes)
  • 23%
    C
    (83 votes)
  • 2%
    D/F
    (8 votes)
  • 5%
    Incomplete
    (19 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (0 votes)
355 votes total Vote Now

Xavier McKinney, New York Giants

Perhaps of all the second round ‘Bama selections, there was no greater steal than the 36th overall selection, Crimson Tide safety Xavier McKinney. That at least seems to be the consensus opinion anyway. He truly does have the potential to be a day-one starter on a young Giants’ secondary that is rebuilding through the draft.

When you heard the word “versatile” all throughout this draft process, Isaiah Simmons was the first name to come to mind. But another should have, too: Xavier McKinney. There have been only five safeties to play over 450 snaps in the box, slot and at free safety over the past two years, and only one of those five produced 70.0-plus grades at all three of those alignments — Xavier McKinney. Whether he was playing in coverage, rushing the passer or trying to stop the run, McKinney performed at a high level and produced grades above 79.0 in all facets in each of the last two years.

Not only is X expected to compete for a starting spot immediately, but many feel that he has all-pro ability.

“Xavier McKinney has Pro Bowl potential,” Kiper wrote Monday. “There were teams looking at him in the 20s, but he lasted until the second round. He’s a good fit next to Jabrill Peppers.”

“In 41 career games with 28 starts in Tuscaloosa, McKinney recorded 176 tackles (13 TFL), six sacks, five forced fumbles, 20 pass breakups, and five interceptions,” wrote NJ.com’s Matt Lombardo. “It was easy to see the potential the Giants identified in McKinney and the ceiling Kiper has tor the Alabama alum.”

NYG GM Dave Gettleman tapped into his ‘Bama connections with Joe Judge and identified a keeper — a first round talent that somehow lasted until the early second. They’re tickled pink in the Meadowlands:

We had made up our mind that if Xavier fell to us, we were taking him. So, we did have something. If Xavier had been gone, we did have a team willing to move up and we would’ve moved back. But we felt the value of getting Xavier there was just too good to pass up.

We had Xavier rated, we had a first-round value on him, and we’re absolutely thrilled to get him. He’s a great kid, he’s smart, he plays smart, he lines up the backend for us, he’s versatile, you can put him down low, he can cover tight ends, he’s got ball skills, and he’s a good tackler. So, we’re excited and just feel we’ve got a real quality person and player in this second round pick.

Poll

Grade the Pick — Xavier McKinney, New York Giants

This poll is closed

  • 92%
    A
    (317 votes)
  • 6%
    B
    (21 votes)
  • 0%
    C
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    D/F
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Incomplete
    (0 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (0 votes)
341 votes total Vote Now

Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys

Most had speculated in the weeks leading up the draft that Xavier Diggs to the Cowboys was a natural fit. And, it did happen, though most had Diggs going in the late first, not the second round. When CeeDee Lamb was still available in the first, the ‘Boys added another franchise wideout and still got their man. Diggs’ loss was Jerry Jones gain.

Though he is still learning the position, Diggs’ background as a receiver has helped him to gain the potential to be a true lock-down corner with the ball in the air. You just can’t coach instincts or Trevon’s natural athleticism:

Great instincts and ball skills

Anticipation is one of the best tools to have when you’re a cornerback. You must process information quickly and react accordingly. Diggs has the instincts to cut off routes and disrupt the release.

Having a background at the wide receiver position helped Diggs game in the defensive secondary. He’s able to read the receiver’s eyes, turn his head around, and high point the ball in the air, which is textbook technique.

Coach Mike McCarthy echoed those scouting reports. In the NFL, you have to be able to go after contested balls and Diggs can do just that.

“Trevon is someone we spent a lot of time on,” new Cowboys coach Mike McCarthy said. “We met with him both at the (NFL Scouting) Combine and video conferencing. You don’t have to watch too much film to get excited about what he brings to the table. …

“I think he’s going to be a great fit for how we want to play on defense. You look at his skill set, not only with this length and his smooth hips and his ability to cover, but the way he attacks the football. He has excellent hands, and when that ball goes up at the breaking point of a route, he has as good a chance as the receiver to get the ball.”

That’s not to say that he’s a flawless player. Most agree that Trevon is not even close to reaching his true potential, and many aspects of his technique need refinement. Some fans are still salty about seeing Ja’Marr Chase spin him around a few times, but since that dude is going to be a Top 10 pick next year, and is the reigning Biletnikoff winner for a reason, we can’t judge Diggs too harshly. Chase is going to make a lot of money for the next decade doing just that on Sundays.

Fortunately, the impression Diggs left at the Combine was that of a tough-minded and coachable player who offers scheme versatility, press-man coverage, and is unafraid to take instruction or try to learn new skills — even a new position.

So, in all, Diggs is rightly being called a steal at the 51st pick.

Poll

Grade the Pick — Trevon Diggs, Dallas Cowboys

This poll is closed

  • 43%
    A
    (140 votes)
  • 46%
    B
    (148 votes)
  • 8%
    C
    (27 votes)
  • 0%
    D/F
    (2 votes)
  • 0%
    Incomplete
    (3 votes)
  • 0%
    Other
    (0 votes)
320 votes total Vote Now

In our next edition, we’ll cover the third round — ‘Bama’s pass-rusher selections, and then finish off with the undrafted players who signed as UDFAs.

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