NFL Draft Prospect Breakdown: Minkah Fitzpatrick

Other Breakdowns

Quenton Nelson – 93/100
Saquon Barkley
 – 92/100
Tremaine Edmunds – 89/100
Bradley Chubb – 89/100
Derwin James – 88/100
Roquan Smith – 87/100
Harold Landry – 85/100
Rashaan Evans – 84/100
Will Hernandez – 84/100
Baker Mayfield – 84/100
Sam Darnold – 83/100
Josh Rosen – 83/100
Lamar Jackson – 82/100
Marcus Davenport – 82/100
Calvin Ridley – 81/100
Josh Allen – 77/100
Leighton Vander Esch – 77/100

Stats, Awards, and Accolades

minkah

 

*All Stats via sports-reference.com*

Class: Junior
Height: 6’0″
Weight: 204 lbs
Awards & Accolades: 2x Consensus All-American (2016, 2017), 2x First-team All-SEC (2016, 2017), Chuck Bednarik Award (2017), Jim Thorpe Award (2017), USA Today High School All-American (2014)

Just from looking at the stats, you can tell that Minkah Fitzpatrick is a playmaker. Fitzpatrick forced 11 turnovers in his three years at Alabama, and also added five sacks, playing mostly from the strong safety position. His four pick-sixes rank 11th in the history of the NCAA (since defensive stats started being recorded in 1976). Speed wise, He is good, but not great. At the NFL Combine, Fitzpatrick ran a 4.46 40-yard dash at just over 200 pounds, placing him in the 73rd percentile among defensive backs.

For this breakdown, I re-watched four games. The season opener against Florida State, the two playoff games against Clemson and Georgia, and a random beatdown of Arkansas to fill in any holes I missed from the other three. These offenses ranked 76th, 45th, 14th, and 43rd in Bill Connely’s offensive rankings for 2017, although most of the Florida State game was before they lost starting quarterback Deondre Francois for the season.

Pros

Can cover anyone
Versatile, can play almost any position
Good vision
High Football IQ
An interception machine with great ball skills
Can tackle in the open field
Played tough competition in college
Team leader
Can Blitz
Flips hips in coverage
Big build
Breaks strong on the ball

Cons

Backpedals high
Has a tendency to tackle low rather than wrap up
Sometimes doesn’t break down before tackling
Not very tall
Good, but not great speed for his weight

Grades

Ball Skills – 9/10
Range – 8.5/10
Coverage – 9.5/10
Run Support – 8.5/10

Scheme Fits

Free Safety – 8/10
Strong Safety – 9/10

Overall Grade: 87/100

A reminder, this where I think he should go, not where he will go, these rankings also DO NOT take into account positional importance

90+ Superstar
85+ Elite Player (Top Ten)
80+ First Round Talent
77+ Second Round Talent
74+ Third Round Talent
66+ Third Day Talent (Rounds 4-7)

10/10 Rating – Best in the class or close to it
7.5/10 Rating – Average
5/10 Rating – Poor

Minkah played everything at Alabama: inside corner, outside corner, linebacker, punt returner, and more, but most of all he played safety, so it is safety skills that I graded him on in the skills section. However, if the hype of him being a top ten pick is true, he might have to slide out and play a lot more outside corner, just because of positional importance. His height and speed are both not ideal, but he is fast enough to keep up with most receivers, and his coverage skills should translate well to the outside spot. Minkah not only has the versatility to play many different positions, but he is versatile in the way that he can cover pretty much anybody, be it speed receivers, tight ends, running backs, or whoever else. Perhaps the most fun thing about Minkah Fitzpatrick is his big-play ability from the back end. As a safety, he forced 11 turnovers and scored five touchdowns, four pick-sixes, and one punt return touchdown.

Minkah Fitzpatrick is great in coverage and in run support, and his versatility means that he has a very high floor. I don’t know how sure I would be of someone at his height playing outside corner, but his tape at Alabama speaks for itself. Minkah is an electric player that could contribute to practically any NFL team day one. I gave him a top-eight grade in the class as a strong safety, and if NFL teams feel bothered taking a strong safety that high, why not give him a try at outside corner? Even if it doesn’t work out, you have a jack of all trades that can return kicks, slide inside, or cover over the top.

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