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Minkah Fitzpatrick, Alabama [DB] – Joel Bishop

Name: Minkah Fitzpatrick

Position: Cornerback, Safety

School: Alabama

Class: Junior

Height: 6’1″

Weight: 202 lbs

40 time: Not yet known

Games Watched: 2016 – Clemson. 2017 – Arkansas, Tennessee. 2018 – Georgia

 

Overview

A 5-star prospect coming out of high school, named to the 2015 Parade All-America team. Named a Freshman All-American by Sporting News and in the Freshman All-SEC Team making 45 total tackles, with three for a loss, two sacks, two interceptions (both returned for scores), 11 pass breakups and one quarterback pressure. On special teams, Fitzpatrick had six tackles and one blocked punt, returning for a score.

In his Sophomore year Fitzpatrick was selected as a 1st Team All-American by the Associated Press, American Football Coaches Association and Pro Football Focus, earned 2nd Team honors from Walter Camp and Sporting News. Returned two picks for scores in 2016 and four interceptions for touchdowns during his career to set the Alabama all-time mark for pick-sixes. He also led the team in interceptions (6) and interception return yards (186).

In his Junior year, Fitzpatrick finished as the Butkus and Thorpe award winner, the second recipient of each award in Crimson Tide history.

 

Strengths

Muscular build with long arms. Good height and weight, desirable for a NFL cornerback.  Versatile – can play outside, slot corner and safety. Plus athlete, fluid, moves well in space succeeding as a nickel corner. Good foot technique to change direction, good T-step. Smooth, loose hips to explode and change direction. Anticipates routes. Understands zone responsibilities. Keeps his eyes on the play and reading the quarterback’s eyes. Sudden reaction with a very quick burst to the ball. Great instincts. Stays hip-to-hip with his man. Excellent ball skills. Doesn’t shy away from contact. Solid blitzer, comes with speed and elusiveness. Field general, will align his players and make adjustments pre-snap. Reliable tackler, uses long arms to wrap around ball carriers.

 

Weaknesses

Some question about his best fit and position (cornerback to me). Has more of a forward lean in his stance with high hips than a deep squat which can limit transitioning. Can backpedal to desired amount as an outside corner but needs to be a little smoother with his feet skating across the floor. Doesn’t usually take bad angles but overeagerness can put him out of position.

 

Bottom line

Minkah Fitzpatrick is a versatile player who can play safety and cornerback and will play them at a high level. Played mostly nickel and dime in Saban’s defense but has the tools to play outside cornerback in the NFL and dominate. The top defensive back for me in the draft.

 

Grade:

1st round

 

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