When the Pittsburgh Steelers traded a first round draft pick to the Miami Dolphins for Minkah Fitzpatrick after Week 2 of the 2019 regular season, fans were ecstatic, but hesitant. I mean, trading away your lone first round pick is drastic, but Fitzpatrick did more than enough to ease those concerns once he stepped on the field wearing the black-and-gold.
Fitzpatrick’s first season, albeit not a full season, with the Steelers equated in him earning some lofty individual honors: First team All-Pro and a Pro Bowl nomination. When it comes to individual honors, there aren’t many loftier than those, but Fitzpatrick is eyeing one big award for himself in 2020.
The Defensive Player of the Year award.
In a recent interview on ESPN’s First Take, Fitzpatrick was asked about his individual goals for the upcoming season, and he said winning the top defensive player award would be the next on his list. He even went as far as to suggest how his numbers in 2019 had him on the right trajectory to be in the discussion, but as quarterbacks stopped targeting him he wasn’t able to register the eye-popping statistics to put him over the top.
Fitzpatrick also added how in 2020 the Steelers’ defense will be riddled with talent, not leaving quarterbacks the option to throw away from Fitzpatrick as they did in 2019. This is something he, and the rest of the Steelers defense, are excited about in the upcoming season.
The interview is worth the watch, as Fitzpatrick answers questions about potentially playing games in front of an empty stadium, Tom Brady leaving the AFC and joining the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and if he would fear a player like Kansas City Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes.
Check out the full interview in the player below:
Does Minkah have a shot at Defensive Player of the Year? What would it be like watching a football game with no players in the stands? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below, and stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black-and-gold as they prepare for the 2020 NFL Draft in just a few weeks.