There are some times when you see an article, a headline, or a blurb in an article which makes you think, “Well, that’s a no-brainer.”
Now, this can change based on the team, and fan base, but there are certainly aspects of the ESPN Insider article which outlined the best players at every position. When it came to safety, you can imagine how quickly fans of the Pittsburgh Steelers scrolled to the position to see what these “experts” thought about Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Was he listed as the safety with the best ball skills? No.
Was he listed as the safety with the best coverage ability? No.
What he was listed as was the most complete safety in the game. Here is what they said about Fitzpatrick, and keep in mind this was written before the Steelers’ Week 16 win over the Las Vegas Raiders where Fitzpatrick added another interception to his 2022 resume.
Most complete safety
Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh Steelers
I love the tape on Fitzpatrick. There’s a physical presence to his game. And I see plenty of range, coverage ability and ball skills, whether he is playing the post, deep half or matched up in coverage. Fitzpatrick does it all. Plus, he adds a true playmaking element to this Steelers secondary. Fitzpatrick has returned one of his four picks for a touchdown while posting 74 tackles and nine pass breakups. He’s an impact safety who has also logged snaps in the slot (52), out wide as a corner (28) and rolled down as a linebacker or robber defender (60).
For Steelers fans, this isn’t breaking news. Since the Steelers shipped a 2019 1st Round NFL Draft pick to the Miami Dolphins for Fitzpatrick’s services, the former Alabama defensive back has been nothing less than dynamic.
Fitzpatrick isn’t perfect, but he fits the Steelers defense, and their style, perfectly. Mike Tomlin has openly talked about just how important Fitzpatrick is the Steelers defense, and when he isn’t in the lineup you can see how the opposing offense adjusts and is willing to attack the middle of the football field. When Fitzpatrick is healthy and in the lineup, you can see how quarterbacks avoid his side of the field as if it were the plague.
Pittsburgh having Fitzpatrick in the back half of the secondary is tremendous, but the Steelers will have some tough decisions to make this offseason when it comes to who will be playing safety next to Fitzpatrick. Terrell Edmunds has been his partner in the back end since he came to Pittsburgh in 2019, but Edmunds is playing 2022 on a very cheap one-year deal. The team also signed Damontae Kazee to bolster their depth at the position, and since returning from Injured Reserve (IR) has played well when given a chance. But Kazee is also on a one-year contract.
Who will the Steelers bring back to play alongside Fitzpatrick? That has yet to be determined, but since getting a new contract prior to 2022, Fitzpatrick will be in the black and gold for the foreseeable future...and that’s the most important factor in this equation.
Be sure to stay tuned to BTSC for the latest news and notes surrounding the Steelers as they prepare for the Baltimore Ravens in Week 17 of the regular season.