When breaking down prospects college film, some of the harder evaluations to make are corners and safeties. That is the toughest transition for players going from the College to the NFL level. Minkah Fitzpatrick is one who I see making this transition look rather easy.
If his size doesn’t impress you (6’1, 202lbs) maybe his range and instincts will. Fitzpatrick’s best traits are ones that can’t be taught and he has them down to a “T’. Whether it’s ballhawking the back end of the secondary, playing press coverage outside the numbers, wrapping up a ball carrier in the open field, or coming downhill in run support, Fitzpatrick does all of it with excellent technique and awareness.
Here he is in coverage playing the ball and receiver perfectly. This play here is why I have him graded as a defensive back. Some teams will draft him as a corner, some as a safety, either way you’ll be getting one hell of a football player.
Here he is patrolling the the secondary. He easily reads the quarterback, makes an easy break on the ball and returns the ball 110 yards for the touchdown.
He is the total package, his ability to cover, tackle, and awareness makes him one of the best defensive back I’ve scouted in the last few seasons. I like Fitzpatrick not only as a true free safety but also a nickel corner, nickel linebacker, and can even play as a true strong safety, though I think that would limit his potential to really make a difference.
When it comes to his technique, Fitzpatrick has clean hips and good footwork that allows him to change directions, recover if he does make a wrong step, and plays the ball in the air great. The Alabama Junior has few holes in his game and is only going to improve in his Junior year. He’s off to a great start so far this season as he’s already added; 1 sack, 1 forced fumble, 1 interception, and 4 PBU’s to his career stat sheet.
Minkah Fitzpatrick has all the physical traits and mental traits scouts dream of and one NFL team is going to get a defensive back who is NFL ready and will contribute immediately. Barring injury or off the field issues, that team will likely have to be picking in the top five.
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