There’s nothing quite like the talk of unofficial midseason All-Pro teams, which are not actually a thing, provided by national writers for the league’s own website to get you fired up for gametime. At least it’s a little more interesting when a member of the Pittsburgh Steelers actually makes it.
And at least for Chris Wesseling, one member of the Steelers does make it, that being one of the newest. I think it’s fair to argue that few players have been as impactful for their team since Pittsburgh acquired safety Minkah Fitzpatrick from the Miami Dolphins prior to their Week Three games, and Wesseling feels that impact has been significant enough to get him on the All-Pro team.
While he wasn’t picked up as one of the two starting safeties—those spots were awarded to the New England Patriots’ Devin McCourty and Justin Simmons of the Denver Broncos—he did make the team as the ‘flex’ fifth defensive back. He writes:
Wasting away as a box safety in Miami, Fitzpatrick has been a revelation as the deep center fielder in Pittsburgh. A Steelers secondary bleeding big plays to the tune of a 141.4 rating on deep passes in the first two games has righted the ship, allowing a minuscule 10.8 rating on passes of 20 or more yards since Fitzpatrick arrived on the scene to police the back end. It’s time for skeptics to cease the hand-wringing over the possibility of Pittsburgh surrendering a lottery pick to Miami in next year’s draft. The 4-4 Steelers won’t plummet to the depths of the Bengals, Jets, Dolphins, Redskins or Falcons. And Fitzpatrick has proven worthy of a top-10 selection with a cheap contract and five forced turnovers in black and gold.
I think the final point that Wesseling made is one that a lot of people have been missing when it comes to the Steelers’ decision to acquire Fitzpatrick. Even if they were to end up with one of the top 10 selections in the 2020 NFL Draft, the safety that they just acquired is playing like a top-10 pick. So they got what they paid for.
And while they lost a year of his career, they significantly cut down the risk factor by nabbing a player who has already shown the ability to play well at the NFL level. Halfway through the season, he has 42 tackles on the year with four interceptions, six passes defensed, and two forced fumbles between his time with the Dolphins and the Steelers.