One of the players who has been connected most to the Patriots in Round 1 of the NFL draft is Alabama safety Xavier McKinney.
The Patriots need to get younger at the position and McKinney is one of the top safeties in the draft with a ton of traits the Patriots like.
McKinney met with the Patriots at the NFL Combine, which included Vinnie Sunseri, who is now with the Patriots in a support staff role after being a graduate assistant at Alabama the last few years.
"It was good," he said to reporters. "That was one of the harder meetings that I had. It was a little tough, a little awkward. But Vinnie Sunseri was in there so it just made me a little more comfortable just knowing that I’ve been in the room with him plenty of other times. It was a good meeting though.”
Why exactly was it awkward?
“Just towards the end I wasn’t sure if they enjoyed the meeting or if I did well," he said. "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.”
McKinney is a very versatile safety, who can play a number of roles for a defense, whether it is playing in the box or in a free safety role not letting anyone get behind him.
“It’s tough," he said. "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 Patriots have pick No. 23 overall and McKinney is a player who will be connected to the pick all the way up until the draft.