New England Patriots

Mar 1, 2020; Indianapolis, Indiana, USA; Alabama Crimson Tide defensive back Xavier McKinney (DB52) runs the 40 yard dash during the 2020 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

By Alex Barth,

Nobody’s ever left a job interview feeling 100% confident. Anybody who says they have is lying.

So it’s understandable that Xavier McKinney told reporters Friday morning at the NFL Combine that he felt “a little awkward” after sitting down with the Patriots. The Alabama safety described it as “one of the hardest meetings I had.”

At the center of his discomfort was the uncertainty of it all.  “Just toward 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 used to tough coaching too. He told reporters that it was “a little rough” playing for six-time national champion Nick Saban at first. “I used to think he didn’t really like me, but over the years, I think we’ve grown. He’s come to trust me.”

TUSCALOOSA, AL – NOVEMBER 10: Xavier McKinney #15 of the Alabama Crimson Tide knocks down a pass by Nick Fitzgerald #7 of the Mississippi State Bulldogs at Bryant-Denny Stadium on November 10, 2018 in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)

Don’t rule McKinney to the Patriots out just yet (he’s still going to New England in our latest mock draft). One interview won’t outweigh three strong years at Alabama, where his key traits were football IQ and versatility. Of course, there’s the Saban connection as well.

Plus, a bad interview won’t stop the Patriots from drafting a player. Leading up to the 2010 draft, the Patriots actually had a player fall asleep on the floor during a pre-draft meeting at Gillette Stadium. That player? Rob Gronkowski.

If McKinney can come to New England and have even half the impact Gronkowski had, his awkward meeting will be nothing more than a funny story he tells while accepting his red jacket.

Alex Barth is a writer and digital producer for Any opinions expressed do not necessarily reflect those of 98.5 The Sports Hub, Beasley Media Group, or any subsidiaries. Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Hate mail? Let him hear it on Twitter @RealAlexBarth or via email at