Xavier McKinney Says NFL Combine Meeting with Patriots Was 'A Little Awkward'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistFebruary 29, 2020

Alabama defensive back Xavier McKinney (15) signals during the first half of an NCAA college football game against Southern Miss, Saturday, Sept. 21, 2019, in Tuscaloosa, Ala. (AP Photo/Vasha Hunt)
Vasha Hunt/Associated Press

Alabama safety Xavier McKinney described his meeting with the New England Patriots at the 2020 NFL Scouting Combine as "a little tough, a little awkward."

"Just toward the end, I wasn't sure if they enjoyed the meeting or if I did well," McKinney told reporters. "You kind of walk out of these meetings, kind of uncertain sometimes. But I think that's just how it goes. You just try to do the best you can."

He added: "That was one of the harder meetings that I had."

The Patriots interview was probably one of the Crimson Tide standout's most important in Indianapolis.

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller ranked McKinney as the No. 24 overall prospect and the best safety in the 2020 draft class heading into the combine. New England owns the 23rd overall pick and is in the market for an upgrade at the position this offseason.

McKinney is coming off a strong junior campaign with Bama. He recorded 95 total tackles, five passes defended, four forced fumbles, three sacks and three interceptions, including one he returned for a touchdown.

Xavier McKinney @mckinney15__

I mean what I say, I say what I mean. The most versatile player in the draft ‼️ 🦍 #EnjoyingTheProcess #NFLCombine https://t.co/raENM4Vwq5

The Georgia native explained at the combine how his extra preparation to fill multiple roles for the Tide helped him on Saturdays:

"It's a lot more studying than the average, I guess player, would have to do for one position. It can be difficult trying to learn more than one check and more than one position and know what you have to do. During the week, I try to make sure after every practice that I go upstairs and watch film. I try to make sure that I get the game plan and know what I'm doing and make sure that I do my job. Every day before practice starts, I would go upstairs and watch film, and then we'd practice, and then after practice I would go upstairs and watch film again, and I'd watch film on the other team to see how maybe I can do something or how something can be done."

The result of those efforts was a First Team All-SEC selection in 2019.

McKinney should land somewhere in the mid-to-late first round when the draft kicks off April 23 in Las Vegas, and it wouldn't be a surprise if the Patriots are his destination despite the "awkward" interview.