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CBS Sports Ranks Minkah Fitzpatrick as Top 10 Safety in NFL

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Pittsburgh Steelers FS Minkah Fitzpatrick
Pittsburgh Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick during minicamp on June 12, 2024. -- Ed Thompson / Steelers Now

Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick received high praise from CBS Sports in their top 20 safeties in the NFL rankings. Fitzpatrick was tabbed as the third-best safety in the league, behind only Kyle Hamilton of the Baltimore Ravens and Antoine Winfield Jr. of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

“This next group is on a different level than most other safeties. Even with Fitzpatrick missing some time last year, he still found a way to make an impact at all three levels of the defense. After beginning his career as a corner, he still has some of the best coverage abilities of any safety, and he is a turnover-forcing machine both deep down the field and close to the line of scrimmage,” Jared Dublin of CBS Sports wrote.

Fitzpatrick is looking to have a bounce-back year after an injury-riddled season in 2023. It was also the first time in his career that he didn’t create a turnover.

In 2022, Fitzpatrick was the NFL’s co-leader in interceptions with six. Fitzpatrick hopes to get back to his ball-hawking ways.

“Just let me play ball,” Fitzpatrick said at OTAs. “That’s it. Minkah ball.”

Fitzpatrick thinks the additions of DeShon Elliott, Donte Jackson, Patrick Queen and Cam Sutton will help him reach an All-Pro level again.

“As many great players as you could get in the field is going to help Minkah play Minkah ball,” Fitzpatrick said.

Steelers defensive coordinator Teryl Austin plans on keeping it simple for Fitzpatrick this season. He admitted during minicamp that he put too much on his plate last season. Fitzpatrick is at his best when he’s playing deep and being a ball-hawk.

“To get him back to playing Minkah ball, as he would say, Minkah is at his best when he is playing back a bit deeper, seeing things, and able to go back and react because he sees the game really fast,” Austin said. “And so, my job is to keep him back there as much as possible, and to keep him out of situations where he’s blitzing and doing that stuff. It’s not that he can’t, but he’s better doing the other things. That’s where the additions come in. You have other guys that are ready to handle some of those things that you know, he picked up last year. So, we’ll have other guys do those things and get back to where he is exceptional.”