CBS has been dishing out their ranking of the top ten players at each position in the NFL and naturally, Minkah Fitzpatrick easily made that list for safeties. Author Patrik Walker has him as the runner up for the best safety in football, claiming the #2 spot league-wide.
Here’s part of what Walker had to write:
“After being traded from the Dolphins to the Steelers, the former 11th-overall pick slingshotted himself into the conversation for best safety in the league. He didn’t miss a beat after an impressive two-interception, 80-tackle rookie season in 2018…Fitzpatrick has a rare athletic ability that allows him to play both safety and corner, depending upon the call from the sideline, and he excels in either/both capacities.”
Fitzpatrick immediately became a bonafide playmaker for the Steelers after being traded before Week Three for a 2020 1st round pick. He intercepted five passes, two fumble recoveries, one forced fumble, and a host of open-field tackles. Somehow, he was able to pick up the Steelers’ scheme immediately and flourish. He’ll be even better in Year 2 with Pittsburgh, knowing the system and circumstances to kick off the year while building on his wildly successful 2019.
As Walker notes, Fitzpatrick has the ability to line up anywhere, though he didn’t see much of that with Pittsburgh. His role could, should, and probably will expand this year now that he’s ingrained in the system. Instead of playing predominantly in center field, he’ll drop down to cover the slot, work as the hook/Robber defender, keeping him involved in the defense and someone quarterbacks can’t throw away him.
The only safety ranked ahead of him is Kansas City’s Tyrann Mathieu. With another season like last, perhaps Fitzpatrick will be able to overtake him for that top spot. Around the AFC North, Baltimore’s Earl Thomas is the only other safety to make the top ten, just cracking the list at #10.