All 90 is a Pittsburgh Steelers Now series profiling each of the 90 members of the Steelers 2022 offseason roster.
39 • Minkah Fitzpatrick, fifth-year free safety, Alabama
6-foot-1, 207 pounds, 25 years old
Acquired: The Steelers have traded away their first-round pick just once in 70 years, and the lone exception to that rule came when Kevin Colbert pulled the trigger on 2019 deal to bring Fitzpatrick to the Steelers for the first pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.
Last season: Fitzpatrick blew away his career high in tackles, making 124 stops after totaling 80 tackles as a rookie 2018. Of course, it’s not necessarily a good thing for the defense to have its farthest player from the ball be its leading tackler. Fitzpatrick’s big tackle numbers were as much about the struggles of the players in front of him against the run as anything else.
He was still a key splash-play contributor to the secondary, recording two interceptions, forcing one fumble and recovering one.
Career: Fitzpatrick was drafted with the No. 11 pick in the first round of the 2018 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins and started 11 games with the team as a rookie.
In 2019, he played two games with the Dolphins before coming to Pittsburgh. In 14 games with the Steelers that season, he had five interceptions, two fumble recoveries and two defensive touchdowns.
In 2020 continued his strong play since coming to Pittsburgh, earning his second consecutive All-Pro and Pro Bowl selections and became widely regarded as one of the top safeties in the NFL. He finished the 2020 season with 79 tackles, four interceptions and a career-high 11 passes defend. He also had one tackle for loss and one fumble recovery.
College: Won the Chuck Bednarik Award as the best defensive player in college football and also the Jim Thorpe Award as the top defensive back after his junior season at Alabama. Was a two-time All-American and two-time All-SEC selection, in addition to being a freshman All-American and All-SEC selection in 2015. Won national championships in 2015 and 2017.
Camp outlook: Fitzpatrick was plenty good last season, but the Steelers just made him the highest-paid safety in the NFL to be great, not good, and he probably has another gear to turn to beyond what he showed in 2022.
New defensive coordinator Teryl Austin was formerly Fitzpatrick’s position coach, and should have a good idea about how to best utilize the star safety.
Future: Fitzpatrick’s five-year deal will keep him in Pittsburgh through the end of the 2026 season
The rest of the 90: