Pittsburgh Steelers safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick, had an amazing 2019 season. However one NFL analyst thinks he is overrated.
The Steelers defense was a bit concerning after the first two weeks of the 2019 season. After surrendering 33 points to the New England Patriots, they allowed 28 points to the Seattle Seahawks on their own turf in Week 2. But things turned around rather quickly after trading for Dolphins safety, Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick, the former 11th overall pick in the 2018 NFL Draft, did nothing but impress from the moment he stepped on the field for the Steelers. Their defensive numbers improved in every measurable department, and untimely, Pittsburgh finished top six in yards and points allowed. In addition, they led the league in takeaways, thanks in large part to Minkah’s 8 (5 interceptions and 3 fumble recoveries) that he pitched in.
But despite his success as a first-team All-Pro player by the age of 23 and a 2019 candidate for the Defensive Player of the Year Award, there are some who still disagree that Minkah is an elite NFL safety.
One of those is CBS Sports analysts, Pete Prisco. Here’s what he had to say regarding Fitzpatrick’s ‘overrated’ 2019 season:
2019 Steelers Defense before/after Minkah
30.5 PPG 17.3
320.0 Pass YPG 176.7
125.0 Rush YPG 107.4
-32 Point Diff. +18@PriscoCBS DOUBLING DOWN @minkfitz_21 is NOT in the #NFLTop100@BMac_SportsTalk | @CamHeyward pic.twitter.com/Fp2XQM8NXO
— CBS Sports HQ (@CBSSportsHQ) May 21, 2020
Despite what a majority of NFL analysts believe, Prisco insists that Minkah Fitzpatrick’s 2019 campaign was overblown, stating that “there were better safeties last year.” Prisco was adamant that Jimmie Ward played better than Fitzpatrick last season – saying that he “went back and watched” the tape to confirm this.
Certainly, Prisco is in the minority here, as most believe that Fitzpatrick has elevated his play to an elite safety level. Cameron Heyward came to his defense after seeing Prisco’s comments. Here’s what the All-Pro defensive lineman had to say in response to the CBS Sports video bashing Fitzpatrick:
So he clarified what Minkah did by if Rivers could do this than it he’s not an elite safety. And since when do we judge players off 3 games??? That’s baffling. Check our that Indy game, the 49ers game. And then the stats after we brought Minkah in are not just coincidental.
The Steelers had one of the best defenses in the league last season, and there is little evidence to suggest they could have done so without Fitzpatrick roaming in the secondary. In his second NFL season, Fitzpatrick led the NFL in takeaways, and surrendered just a 46.3 passer rating over his 14 games in Pittsburgh, according to Pro Football Reference.
This was nearly identical to Stephon Gilmore’s 44.1 passer rating allowed last year. Gilmore, of course, ultimately beat out T.J. Watt and Fitzpatrick for the Defensive Player of the Year Award in 2019.
There are always going to be analysts out there with wild opinions, but going against the grain doesn’t make them right in their assessment. Minkah Fitzpatrick needs to show that his play in 2019 wasn’t just a one-year fluke, but something tells me he’s going to be one of the NFL’s best safeties for quite some time.