The best ability is availability and Giants safety Xavier McKinney has been as durable of a player as you can be in the NFL. McKinney has not missed a defensive snap since Week 3 of last season, the longest active streak in the NFL. In that time, he has taken 1,297 consecutive snaps.

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“That’s definitely something I pride myself in,” McKinney said. “Even when Logan [Ryan] was here we talked about that a lot, just making sure I was always available. I knew that was something he prided himself on. That’s big. You want to always be available for the team. That can take you a long way.”

The former Alabama star suffered a fracture foot in his rookie season, which caused him to miss the first ten games of his career. Since then, McKinney has been a rising star in the Giants defense.

His running mate at safety, Julian Love has been impressed with McKinney’s dependability.

“I would attribute that to living right,” Love said. “You do the right things on and off the field you get to have streaks like that. He’s done a good job of being available and being there for us.”

McKinney was exceptional in his first full season as a starter in 2021. He accumulated 93 tackles, ten pass breakups, and five interceptions. Despite not earning All-Pro or Pro Bowl recognition for his play last season, the 23-year-old has set lofty expectations for his career.

“I want to be one of the best to ever play this game,” McKinney said in September. “I want to be up there with the greats, with Ed Reeds, the Charles Woodsons, the Troy Polamulas. And ultimately, I want to end my career and be able to obtain that gold jacket.”

McKinney has taken on a larger role in the Giants defense in 2022. He wears the green dot on his helmet as the defensive signal-caller in Wink Martindale’s scheme. The defensive back has been lining at free safety, in the box, and either on or around the line of scrimmage.

He has played a significant role in New York’s culture shift under new head coach Brian Daboll. He leads in a manner that reflects someone who came from a defense coached by Nick Saban.

“I like to do things my way,” McKinney said. “I’m very coachable and I’m able to learn, but I’m not going to do everything by the book. The way I lead people is not super traditional. I’m going to push you to the extent where I might make you mad. But however I feel like is the best way for me to bring it out of you, to get you to that level that I feel like you can get to, then that’s what I’m going to do.”

The Giants return to action on Sunday, Oct. 23 against the Jacksonville Jaguars. Kickoff is set 12 p.m. CT and will air on FOX.

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