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Steelers’ Minkah Fitzpatrick Named Best Safety in NFL



Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick

In an ESPN poll among NFL coaches, executives, and scouts, they selected Steelers safety Minkah Fitzpatrick as the best safety in the league following the 2022 season. With three All-Pro selections, Fitzpatrick found his way back on top of the list, ahead of the Chargers’ Derwin James.

The lowest ranking Fitzpatrick got on the list was 5th overall from one of those polled. He climbed back up from the 2nd slot last year, though not every media member agrees that Fitzpatrick is the top safety in the game. That comes after netting a career-high six interceptions last season and aiding Pittsburgh to a 9-8 record as one of the stars on the defense.

According to ESPN, he registered a ballhawk rate of 28.2%, the best in the NFL. When one personnel director was asked about Fitzpatrick, there was no doubt to him that he was watching the best in the game on the field. It seems that every team has to know where No. 39 is before and after the snap.

“Best in the game, and it’s not close,” an NFL personnel director said to ESON. “You have to keep him moving because if he’s stationary, coordinators can plan for him, but every single play, there’s that feeling of, where is he going to be? Post, slot, nickel, box. He’s capable, willing and able to handle all of that. He’s brilliant, works, studies, loves the game.”

That is the beauty of what makes Fitzpatrick the Steelers trump card, if you will. He plays free safety, overhang, slot cornerback, robber, two-high safety, and so much more in a system that is made for hyper specialization. In the NFL, the more you can do on the back end, the better you are equipped as a safety, and Fitzpatrick plays about seven or eight roles throughout a game with the Steelers.

So, Fitzpatrick claiming the top spot is not surprise. Since coming over to the Dolphins in 2019, Fitzpatrick has earned three first-team All-Pro honors and seen his role adapted to each team overall. Last summer, he signed a new four-year extension with the Steelers that will keep him in Pittsburgh through the 2026 season as the center of the secondary.

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