Minkah Fitzpatrick is one of the cleanest prospects in past decade. If he’s available, this trade should get done today.— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) September 13, 2019
Fitzpatrick was the 11th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft. He’s a high-upside, 22-year-old defensive back from Old Bridge, N.J. who can be used in a variety of ways, from moneybacker to free safety.
Here is what Ourlads said about Fitzpatrick before the 2018 draft:
Has played corner, nickel corner, nickel linebacker and safety. Shows skill at all spots. Quick and fluid with above average agility. Adjusts well moving downhill and is physical in run support. Plays the nickel spot with instincts, reactions, and skill. Takes on blocks with his hands and is quick to shed. Physical versus a stalk block. Has a unique ability for a defensive back to get off blocks with a variety of technique. Solid tackling skills. Takes good angles and leverage to the ball. Very aggressive. Shows excellent speed in the deep zones. He can occasionally get focused on an individual route and not see the route concept. Overall in zone is disciplined and the majority of the time shows the skill to read routes and the quarterback. Does a good job in the short zones as a nickel. Closes void areas quickly and can play underneath a deep route and break on the short route. Shows the speed to stay in phase versus a deep pattern at corner. He demonstrates smooth transitions and reactions on the ball. Physical in press with the ability to mirror cuts and stay in phase. Shows a sudden break on the ball with the ball in front of him. Has a knack for the big play interception, timing his break to catch it at the high point. Shows excellent blitz ability from the nickel spot and has a burst to close. Fitzpatrick checks all the boxes as a versatile defender who can excel at multiple spots on the field. He is an explosive athlete with good techniques and athletic ability. Will contribute on all special teams’ coverage units.
I asked Sam Monson of Pro Football Focus two questions about Fitzpatrick.
How good is he now? “Not very.”
How good can he be? “Very.”
“He’s an interesting slot corner/safety hybrid type of player that’s perfect for today’s NFL if he’s matched up on running backs or TEs. He’s NOT suitable for covering speedy guys in the slot such as Marquise Brown (see Week 1.).
“He’s also still very young at the NFL level, so finding his feet. I think because his skill set is a little unusual he needs a defensive scheme that will work to his strengths and put him in a position to succeed, but within that scheme he would become a very good and super-valuable player. Just thrown into a standard scheme and asked to do things he struggles with he will look like a disappointment.”
Fitzpatrick played in all 16 games for Miami a year ago with 11 starts. He had 80 tackles, one interception and nine passes defensed. With a 35-year-old free safety in Antoine Bethea, veteran cornerback Janoris Jenkins perhaps in his final season with the Giants, unproven players Tae Davis and Ryan Connelly at moneybacker and several other inexperienced players throughout the secondary making a run at Fitzpatrick would seem to make sense.
The Giants seem to be trying to build a secondary where players can be moved around and fill different roles, which suits Fitzpatrick’s game. It also suits the modern NFL, where matchups are key and players who can fill multiple roles are highly valued.
The question, of course, would be price. If Fitzpatrick is indeed available, Dolphins GM Chris Grier is likely fielding a lot of phone calls.
“Everyone will be interested, which should keep the price around a 2, maybe more if there’s a bidding war,” predicted Dan Hatman of The Scouting Academy.
Would you be willing to see the Giants pay a second-round pick, perhaps a second-round pick and a young player, to acquire Fitzpatrick?