The Green Bay Packers made a big splash in free agency by reaching an agreement with safety Xavier McKinney. The former New York Giants safety provides the Packers with a big upgrade at the safety position. In four years with the Giants, the former second round pick has nine career interceptions, 1.5 sacks and broke up 27 passes. McKinney is also young and won’t turn 25 until August. Here are 10 things you may not know about Packers safety Xavier McKinney.

Ten Things You May Not Know About Packers Safety Xavier McKinney: Number One He Was the MVP of the Orange Bowl

McKinney was the Defensive MVP of the 2018 Orange Bowl while playing for Alabama. The Crimson Tide defeated Oklahoma 45-34. In the game, McKinney broke up four passes and recorded five tackles while facing Sooners quarterback Kyler Murray.

Second Thing: He Has Connections with a Member of the Packers Coaching Staff

McKinney has worked with the Packers new defensive passing game coordinator Derrick Ansley. Ansley served as the defensive backs coach for Alabama in 2016 and 2017 while McKinney played there.

Ten Things You May Not Know About Packers Safety Xavier McKinney: Number Three, His First Career Interception

McKinney made his first career NFL interception on January 3, 2021, in a game against the Dallas Cowboys. He intercepted Andy Dalton in the end zone to help preserve a close win for the Giants.

Fourth Thing: Multiple Interception Games

McKinney has three career games with two interceptions in his NFL career. Two of them came in 2021 and one last season against the Philadelphia Eagles in his final game with the Giants.

He definitely has more ball skills than the player he’s replacing in the Packers lineup in Darnell Savage.

Ten Things You May Not Know About Packers Safety Xavier McKinney: Number Five, Pick Six

McKinney has one career pick six. It came on November 7, 2021, in the Giants 23-16 win over the Las Vegas Raiders.

McKinney intercepted Raiders quarterback Derek Carr and ran the ball back 41 yards for a touchdown. The touchdown was the Giants margin of victory.

Sixth Thing: Injury History

McKinney suffered a broken bone in his foot during training camp of his rookie season. He missed the first 10 games of the 2020 campaign as a result.

During the Giants bye week in 2022, McKinney was involved in an ATV accident and suffered a broken hand. He was placed on the Reserve/Non-Football Injury list and missed eight games before returning late in the season.

He played a full 17 games in both 2021 and 2023 and recorded eight of his career nine interceptions in those seasons.

Ten Things You May Not Know About Packers Safety Xavier McKinney: Number Seven, High School Highlights

McKinney intercepted seven passes in his senior year at Roswell High School in Georgia. He was a versatile athlete. He played wide receiver in addition to defensive back in high school and also played basketball.

Eighth Thing: This Is Not the First Time McKinney Has Been on the Packers Radar

The Packers scouted McKinney extensively before the 2020 NFL Draft. The Packers were considering taking him with the 30th overall pick but decided to trade up in that draft to select quarterback Jordan Love instead.

The Giants selected him with the 36th overall selection in the second round of the draft before Brian Gutekunst had another chance to pick McKinney. Now they are both Green Bay Packers.

Ten Things You May Not Now About Packers Safety Xavier McKinney: Number Nine, McKinney Has the Versatility the Packers Are Looking For

New Packers defensive coordinator Jeff Hafley mentioned that he wants to utilize two safeties on most plays, one in the box and one to play deep in coverage as part of a cover three or cover one scheme. He ideally wants the two safeties to be able to switch between those two roles on any play.

McKinney has the versatility Hafley, and the Packers crave. Last season, he played 1,128 defensive snaps. A total of 464 came at free safety, he lined up in the box on 388 snaps and in the slot 167 times according to Pro Football Focus.

The addition of McKinney allows Hafley to play his defense the way he envisions it. He will likely be joined by Anthony Johnson, Jr. at safety. The Packers could also sign another free agent safety. That would likely be a more moderately priced player.

Tenth Thing: A Packers First

McKinney will be the first player in the more than 100-year history of the Packers franchise to have a first or last name starting with the letter X. The Packers have had multiple players whose last names started with each of the other 25 letters.



Follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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