Know we’ve spent plenty of time talking about Minkah Fitzpatrick on here the past few days but there’s one other newsworthy item to pass along to you. Fitzpatrick was named to NFL.com’s All-Under 25 Team, author Marc Sessler putting together the best squad of guys yet to turn 25.
Here’s what Sessler wrote in his evaluation.
“Entirely worth the first-round pick Pittsburgh shipped to Miami, Fitzpatrick hit the Steel City as a change agent. Serving as the tipping point for a stocked defense, Fitzpatrick zoomed to an All-Pro nod as a ballhawking marauder stacking five interceptions, two forced fumbles, three fumble recoveries, nine passes defensed, one pick-six and a fumble taken to the house. “We have a first-round pick,” Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert said in April. “And that was Minkah Fitzpatrick.”
Nothing to disagree with there. Fitzpatrick was a changing of the guard for the secondary, their first consistent playmaking force since Troy Polamalu. He became the first Steelers’ defender to pick off four passes in a season since Polamalu in 2010, breaking the longest drought in NFL history (Joe Haden would join him by season’s end).
Fitzpatrick’s impact was felt right away. In his first game against the San Francisco 49ers, he was part of a defense who forced five turnovers. He was responsible for two of them, a forced fumble and interception.
Fitzpatrick was the only Steeler to make Sessler’s list. JuJu Smith-Schuster and Devin Bush were the other two candidates for this list but it’s understandable for neither to make it. Smith-Schuster is coming off a difficult season and the league has plenty of young, talented wideouts. Chris Godwin and Courtland Sutton got the nod ahead of him (giving the edge to Sutton is debatable). Bush is likely to find himself on these lists after 2020. He’s expected to become the Steelers’ every-down linebacker and had a successful rookie season, racking up 109 tackles, four fumble recoveries, and two interceptions.
Again, check out Sessler’s entire list here. The Baltimore Ravens and Cleveland Browns each had three players on this list while the Cincinnati Bengals had none.