Photo of MINKAH FITZPATRICK
Grade
6.5 ?

Draft Analysis:

  • 6'1" Height
  • 201LBS. Weight

Overview

Most Tide players, no matter how highly sought after coming out of high school, have to watch from the sidelines for their first year or two. Fitzpatrick got on the field right away in 2015, starting 10 times at the "star" position in 14 appearances and earning Freshman All-American and Freshman All-SEC notice (45 tackles, three for loss, 11 pass break-ups.) He used his sticky hands and speed to return both of his interceptions against Texas A&M that year for touchdowns and helped Alabama win a national title with two break-ups against Clemson in the championship game. Fitzpatrick played star early in 2016 and then moved to safety when senior Eddie Jackson was injured. The result? He led the team with six interceptions and 186 interception return yards, returning two more pick-sixes to set the school career record with four. He was named a first-team All-American by multiple outlets for his efforts (66 tackles, five TFL, seven pass break-ups). Fitzpatrick's New Jersey family home was damaged by Hurricane Irene in 2011.

Analysis

Strengths

Loves ball, lives ball. Extremely competitive play demeanor with a history of showing up big in the biggest games. Versatile chess piece with experience all over the field. Can step right in and cover the slot, play high safety or handle nickel linebacker responsibilities. Good feet with ability to transition backward and forward smoothly around the field. Gets to top chase speed quickly. Can become rangy safety. Able to stick a foot in ground and drive to the ball. Plays with "ball-man" vision of an off-ball defender in basketball. Has awareness from zone to make loads of plays. Has nine career interceptions and four pick-sixes. Has downhill mindset as a hitter. Plays off of blocks and into tackling position. Dangerous blitzer off the edge. Attacks line of scrimmage from high safety look in run support and welcomes physical challenges. Special teams ace with 22 career coverage tackles.

Weaknesses

Plays with some hip tightness that limits lateral agility in coverage. May not have pure cover talent to play full-time cornerback. Allows some separation out of breaks. Feet are more quick than explosive when chasing receivers from the top of the route. Still needs to improve his awareness when asked to play deep safety. Has to learn to dial back urgency and play with more patience on the next level. Comes in hot as tackler and will run himself out of position to finish.

Draft Projection

Round 1

Sources Tell Us

"He's not quite on the same level of Jamal Adams when it comes to changing the entire culture of a locker room, but he is just as talented and probably more versatile." - AFC team executive

NFL Comparison

Budda Baker

Bottom Line

Fitzpatrick turns up the intensity level as high as it will go and and rips off the knob until the game is over. Fitzpatrick has experience as a slot cornerback, but will likely be targeted as a "do-everything" safety who can be deployed as a sub-package linebacker, a blitzer or in the slot against big receivers and move tight ends. Fitzpatrick has consistently shined since his freshman season on Alabama defenses that have been loaded with NFL talent. His versatility, football character and desire to succeed give him Pro Bowl potential and should make him an early starter.
-Lance Zierlein
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-9.00 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl to All-Pro Ability
6.50-6.99 Good NFL Starter with Pro Bowl Potential
6.00-6.49 Chance to become good NFL starter
5.70-5.99 Could become early NFL starter
5.30-5.69 Backup or eventual starter
5.15-5.29 Developmental prospect or special teams potential
5.01-5.14 Back end of the roster
5.00 50/50 Chance of making the roster

Comments