HOOVER, Ala. -- With experience at safety, nickelback and cornerback, Alabama's Minkah Fitzpatrick is known as one of college football's most versatile defensive backs. He's also plenty fast, as well.
Fitzpatrick said he recorded a 40-yard dash time of 4.39 seconds for NFL scouts in the spring under a new agreement allowing scouts additional access to as many as five underclassmen at FBS schools. That would have been the fastest time among all safeties at this year's NFL Scouting Combine, and the fifth-fastest time among cornerbacks. NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein said he doesn't see 4.39-type speed on film from Fitzpatrick, however.
"I don't see that on the tape," Zierlein said. "I like him as a player, but I watched tape of him just (Tuesday), and I didn't see 4.39. I think can run in the high 4.4s and be a very good player, though. He can do a lot of different things and I like him as a corner, but scouts at some point are going to have to decide what he is in terms of a position at the next level."
"I'm worried about a national championship, that's all," he said.
Fitzpatrick (6-foot-1, 203 pounds) led Alabama in interceptions last season with six, and his four career interception returns for touchdowns is a school record. Alabama WR Calvin Ridley confirmed that he also was among Alabama's five underclassmen designated for spring scouting, but said he was unaware of his workout results. UA coach Nick Saban spoke Wednesday about the importance of providing scouts with a high level of access to underclassmen.
Fitzpatrick, for one, appears to have benefitted.
Here are four more things we learned Wednesday at SEC Media Days:
2. Kirk mum on 2018 draft.Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk declined to divulge his thoughts on entering the NFL draft as an underclassman next year, but he's already gotten an early chance to interview with NFL scouts. Kirk, who was one of five Aggies underclassmen designated for additional scouting in the spring, said he interviewed with several NFL clubs when scouts came to Texas A&M's pro day workout. Scouts took measurements on Kirk and the other Aggies underclassmen, but according to Kirk, none of them worked out.
3. Ridley vs. The Freeze. Alabama WR Calvin Ridley took to Twitter last month to challenge The Freeze, the Atlanta Braves promotional sensation who races fans across the warning track. He reiterated Wednesday that he thinks he could beat the masked groundskeeper with the same head start that the average fans get, but he wouldn't make the same prediction were he to get no head start. "Nope, I would need to know who he is," Ridley said. NFL scouts certainly know Ridley; the junior is an electric playmaker who NFL.com analyst Lance Zierlein ranked as the No. 2 WR to watch in the college game.
4. Lock likes Adams. Missouri QB Drew Lock had no hesitation when asked about the best defensive player he's faced. He said it's New York Jets first-round pick Jamal Adams of LSU. "We threw a crossing route in front of him, and he came down and jumped over the top of the receiver, leaned over and tipped it up," Lock said. "I was like 'There's no way he should've made that play.' No flag. I thought he looked good on film, but then I knew he was the real deal." Jets fans await the pro sequel from Adams, the No. 6 overall pick of the 2017 draft.
5. What quarterback controversy? Jalen Hurts' hold on the Alabama starting quarterback job is well-rooted after he took the Crimson Tide to the brink of a national championship season as a true freshman, and the fact that Alabama lost all three of Hurts' backups from last year to transfers tightens his grip even more. UA coach Nick Saban dismissed out of hand a question about a pending competition with five-star incoming freshman Tua Tagovailoa, although Saban did say the freshman will see playing time. "I was ready for that one," Saban said. "That was like a hanging curveball."