NFC Notes: Xavier McKinney, Harrison Smith, Lions, Packers, Vikings


Detroit selected fourth-round OL Giovanni Manu, making him the first draft pick out of British Columbia. Manu described his excitement and emotions about getting to the NFL and can’t wait to get his parents out to see him play real snaps.

“This morning, I woke up at 4 a.m.,” Manu said, via Tim Twentyman of the team’s website. “I couldn’t go back to sleep because I was so excited to get out here. On the bus ride here, I sat in the very back of the bus because I was really emotional. I was tearing up. It’s been such a long journey and just to see me here competing with the best and putting on this jersey, I find myself looking back at my journey.”

“If you guys know my story a little bit moving up here to North America my parents didn’t come with me and still to this day they haven’t seen me play a down of football. One hundred percent that’s something I’m going to do for sure.”


Packers S Xavier McKinney thinks their defensive backs group is the best he’s been a part of in his five-year career. 

“I’d like to say this is the best group I’ve been a part of since I’ve been in the league, and that’s from me to the whoever the last person is, doesn’t matter. Everyone has done a great job,” McKinney said, via PackersWire. “I think the talent level in our room is out of this roof. It’s going to be fun to play with these guys because everyone is smart. We’re all working off each other and build off each other and compete with each other to make each other better.”

McKinney said the younger players in the locker room have been asking him for input since coming to Green Bay. 

“They’ve been picking my brain a lot. It’s been good though. I’ve been letting them know small things they haven’t seen before,” McKinney said.


Vikings veteran S Harrison Smith elected to return for his 13th season after recovering from a nagging shoulder injury. Smith isn’t ready to call this season his last and he’s excited to work with this group.

“That’s kind of what I’ve been doing the last few,” Smith said, via Andrew Krammer of the Star Tribune. “I just take it day by day and think about what I’m doing on the field and how I can get better at that. That kind of simplifies it and really lets you enjoy the moment other than, ‘Oh, this is my last one.’ … I like the action, I like the meetings, being around the guys, and when I approach it that way, I tend to get more out of it. And I think I help add more.”

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