Minkah Fitzpatrick did not come home with the gold, but he is on the podium. In CBS ‘ranking of top ten today, Fitzpatrick came in third place. According to author Tyler Sullivan, he believes Fitzpatrick will be comfortable in this place for years to come.
Here is what we wrote:
“Fitzpatrick will probably be in this top five for the foreseeable future. During his first full season with the Steelers last year, Fitzpatrick received his second consecutive All-Pro nod as a member of one of the better defenses in the entire NFL. He injected an opportunistic advantage for Pittsburgh’s defense when he was acquired from Dolphins in 2019 and it continued into 2020, where he started all 16 games and pulled in four interceptions. He also scored a career-high 11 pass breakups, while allowing a completion rate of just 50. When targeted, Fitzpatrick gave up only a 65.7 pass rating. ”
Much of what can be said about Fitzpatrick we covered in yesterday’s article by NFL.com including him as part of their Under-25 team. He helped take the Steelers’ defense from decent, yet overwhelming, a unit that could create pressure with the best of them, but too often fails to take advantage of things. Although the deal was panned by many in the media at the time, Pittsburgh traded a first round for him just after losing QB Ben Roethlisberger for the season, it has proven to be one of the smartest moves of the last decade.
It is difficult to find quality centers without free security. Box type of strong safety conditions, larger bodies that can dim against the race? There are many of them. But finding someone with a high football IQ, ball skills, range, angles and the ability to finish the game is a combination that does not come too often. And you usually have to pick high in the draft to approach these guys. Therefore, Fitzpatrick drafted the 11th overall, while Terrell Edmunds was taken seventeen spots later (and it was no doubt too high).
The question becomes whether Fitzpatrick can reach the first place. He is clearly close to this brand. But CBS placed Kansas City tyrant Mathieu and Denver Justin Simmons in front of him. If Fitzpatrick continues his ball-hawking ways and can have another impressive season where he easily increases his wicket in total to say six or seven, he could get a shot. Still, he is in good company, and not only will he remain in the top five for a long time, he will remain a Steeler for a long time. His Saturday is expected to come next summer.
Around AFC North, Bengals’ Jessie Bates took fourth place, while the newly signed John Johnson of the Browns grabbed fifth place.