One of the best safeties in the NFL over the last four seasons in Pittsburgh Steelers’ star Minkah Fitzpatrick continues to receive a bit of disrespect overall from Pro Football Focus.
Fitzpatrick, who is line for the largest contract in the NFL at the safety position, is widely considered one of the top players at the position overall. However, Pro Football Focus has him slotted in behind a number of names in its safety rankings within the Coverage Safety tier.
According to PFF’s rankings by Sam Monson, Fitzpatrick lands at No. 8 overall in its coverage tier behind the likes of Tennessee’s Kevin Byard, Tampa Bay’s Antoine Winfield Jr., Baltimore’s Marcus Williams, Cincinnati’s Jessie Bates, Denver’s Justin Simmons, Seattle’s Quandre Diggs, and Miami’s Jevon Holland.
It’s no secret that Fitzpatrick had a tough 2021 season from PFF’s metrics, which happened to be a year in which he led the Steelers with a team-high 124 tackles from the safety position as the Steelers’ run defense effectively collapsed down the stretch due to injuries.
In 2021, Fitzpatrick graded out at a 59.8 overall from PFF with a mark of 49.8 in coverage, the worst of his career to date.
Despite having a tough season overall from PFF’s standpoint, Fitzpatrick remains a high-level safety, so it’s a bit puzzling to see him slotted in behind the likes of Diggs and Holland, at the very least. It doesn’t help that Fitzpatrick was the 107th-graded safety in 2021, five slots behind Terrell Edmunds, as the Steelers’ safety tandem was not highly thought of by PFF.
Still, despite the tough season from a grading standpoint overall, there’s simply no way that Fitzpatrick, who has transformed the Steelers’ defense since coming over from the Miami Dolphins in a 2019 trade, is the eighth-best coverage safety in football. The turnover numbers might not have been there last season, but he’s still a disruptive factor on the back end of the Steelers’ defense overall.