Minkah Fitzpatrick, CB, Alabama
Draft Prospect Outlook:
Swiss-army knife at the second and third level of the defense. Tall, long, and athletic. Effective blitzer. Solid ball skills and ability to run with wideouts. Best as safety or in off-man coverage. Should be one of the first defensive players selected.
A five-star prospect out of Old Bridge, N.J., Minkah Fitzpatrick was inserted into Alabama’s lineup as a true freshman and quickly became a fan favorite on the Crimson Tide’s defense. The versatile defensive back started out at Star in Alabama’s nickel defense, which is its most-used formation, but also filled in at cornerback and safety, especially when Eddie Jackson’s college career ended with a broken leg. Winning a national championship as a true freshman and playing for another in 2016, Fitzpatrick intercepted eight passes in his first two seasons and returned half of them for touchdowns, displaying his playmaking ability from the start.
That ability only blossomed entering his junior year, as the do-it-all defensive back played three different positions – safety, Star and Money – as the face of Nick Saban’s 2017 defense. He didn’t put up the same interception numbers this past season, but Fitzpatrick was all over the field (8.0 tackles for loss, 8.0 pass breakups) and fought through injuries to eventually win the Jim Thorpe and Chuck Bednarik Awards, be named a unanimous All-American and win his second national title in three years. He leaves Tuscaloosa as arguably the best defensive back of the Saban era – an era that has seen 14 defensive backs taken in the NFL Draft. - Charlie Potter, BamaOnLine