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2018 Prospect Primer: DB Minkah Fitzpatrick

Posted Feb 14, 2018

The do-it-all defensive back out of Alabama is projected to be taken in the Top 10 and have an immediate impact on whichever team he ends up with.

Fitzpatrick is very-on-purpose referred to as a defensive back and not identified solely as a corner or safety or even nickel because of his crazy athleticism and versatility. It’s unclear how exactly he fits in at the NFL level because he was used in multiple positions throughout his time in college.

He played as a true freshman at Alabama in 2015, making 10 starts and playing the ‘star’ (what is more commonly known as nickel) position for the Crimson Tide. During 2016, due to an injury to senior Eddie Jackson, Fitzpatrick was moved to safety and ended up leading the team with six interceptions and a whopping 186 interception return yards. He also set the school record with four pick-sixes in a single season. He deservedly earned first-team All-America honors for his efforts that year.

He was voted a permanent team captain in his junior season and was the third player in NCAA history to win both the Butkus and Jim Thorpe awards, given to the nation’s top linebacker and the nation’s top defensive back respectively, joining Hall of Famer Charles Woodson and the Arizona Cardinals’ Patrick Peterson. Last season, he finished with 60 combined tackles, including eight tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He also recorded one interception and eight pass breakups. That work was good for a unanimous All-America selection from five major outlets and First-Team All-SEC as well.

According to NFL.com, he can cover the slot, play high safety or handle the nickel position responsibilities, though may not have the lateral-coverage capabilities to be a full-time corner. He can also blitz off the edge and attack the line of scrimmage from a high safety look for run support. He’s the whole package with an AFC team personnel executive having this to say about the defender:  "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."

He’s drawn an NFL comparison to Budda Baker and NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah has him going fourth overall to the Cleveland Browns in his Mock Draft 1.0.