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Joe Haden, not Minkah Fitzpatrick, will lead the Steelers in interceptions in 2021

In the new “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” series, we break down situations which could take place for the Steelers in 2021.

NFL: Pittsburgh Steelers at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

The Pittsburgh Steelers are preparing for the 2021 regular season, but before the real games begin, the team has to head to training camp to fine tune their skills. As we here at BTSC prepare you for the start of camp, we give you a series called “30 Scenarios in 30 Days” which gives you a Steelers scenario every day leading up to the start of camp.

It is simple how it works. We provide you the scenario, reasons why it will or won’t happen, and then our prediction for what we think will take place.

Let’s get to the scenario...

Scenario: Joe Haden, not Minkah Fitzpatrick, will lead the Steelers in interceptions in 2021.

2020 Statistics (INTs)
Minkah Fitzpatrick: 4
Joe Haden: 2

Why it will happen: By this point, it isn’t a surprise opposing quarterbacks avoid Minkah Fitzpatrick like the plague. This will certainly decrease his ability to get his hands on the football. Compound this with quarterbacks likely thinking they can pick on the veteran Haden, and suddenly Haden will have plenty of opportunities to take away the football. Haden looks to be in incredible shape, and has no signs of slowing down. This past offseason, the Steelers could have easily cut Haden like they did Steven Nelson, but they let Nelson go. That should tell you something about how they view Haden in regards to how much good football he has left. Take Haden’s likely increased opportunities, and the fact he does have tremendous ball skills, it isn’t out of the realm of possibility Haden will lead the Steelers in interceptions this season.

Why it won’t happen: It is true, quarterbacks do avoid Fitzpatrick a lot, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t smart enough to still find his way to the football. Fitzpatrick is one of those players who just always seems to be in the right place at the right time. Call it luck, call it smarts or call it ridiculous film study, Fitzpatrick knows how to find his way to the ball. On top of that, while quarterbacks could be targeting Haden, a case could be made for them avoiding Haden. Who will start opposite Haden on the Steelers’ defense? Cam Sutton? James Pierre? Justin Layne? No one knows! Whoever it is could be seeing quarterbacks going their way early and often. This would take opportunities away from Haden, and give Fitzpatrick the chance to lead the team in interceptions again.

Prediction: This is a prediction I went into thinking I would predict the scenario to come true. That Haden would lead the Steelers in interceptions. But the more I thought about it, and wrote about it, the more I feel the fact an untested player will be on the outside, and Fitzpatrick just always is around the ball, has me thinking it will be Fitzpatrick, not Haden, leading the Steelers in interceptions next season. This isn’t to suggest Haden will be skunked in the INT department, but Fitzpatrick will out-pace the veteran. I’ll say Fitzpatrick has 5, and Haden has 3 in 2021.

Check out yesterday’s ‘30 Scenarios in 30 Days’ prediction:

Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the black and gold as they prepare for the 2021 regular season.