Minkah Fitzpatrick is coming off a phenomenal season in 2019. Here’s why Peter King believes he will be a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year again in 2020.
Minkah Fitzpatrick has been in the news a lot recently, but not for the reasons you might think. After being snubbed from Pete Prisco’s Top 100 players list, the star safety voiced his frustration on social media.
Since then, many have taken the liberty of labeling him as a drama queen. While Fitzpatrick had his disagreements with the coaching staff in Miami before wanting out, it seems a little premature to play up this narrative.
"“I think he’s going to be a candidate for Defensive Player of the Year this year. The safety position he plays in that defense is so well-suited to make plays all over the field and I think he’s got a good chance to do that. I think the one thing about being traded in the middle of September and having to play five days later is you’re basically going on reaction the whole year. You’re not going on the education of the defense that you have. You’re going on your athletic ability and skill. To me, Minkah Fitzpatrick, with a year knowing this system and especially a system that features the safety so much, he’s not going to be good, I think he’ll be great this year.”"
Minkah Fitzpatrick was one of the runner-ups for the Defensive Player of the Year award in 2019 – along with fellow All-Pro teammate, T.J. Watt. While the number of takeaways he earns could dictate his success in 2020, Fitzpatrick could be in line for another very good season with a year of learning the playbook and meshing with teammates now under his belt.
At just 23 years old, Fitzpatrick is coming off a phenomenal season in which he took the ball away from the offense 8 times (5 interceptions, 3 fumble recovers). In addition, he forced another two fumbles and scored two defensive touchdowns.
Obviously, fans are hoping that Minkah’s 2019 performance wasn’t just a fluke, but it’s hard to imagine that being the case. Fitzpatrick isn’t just a player that came out of nowhere. He was a blue-chip prospect from Alabama entering the 2018 NFL Draft. The star safety ended up being the 11th overall pick as he was taken ahead of Derwin James (17th overall pick).
Peter King’s endorsement of Fitzpatrick doesn’t automatically mean he’s going to be a Defensive Player of the Year candidate this sesaon, or even a Pro Bowl player, for that matter. Minkah has just one truly successful season under his belt as an elite safety, and he will have to prove that he can consistently perform like he did last year.
While it’s unreasonable to think that he could repeat his unbelievable performance from a season ago, Fitzpatrick must prove that he can be a top performer year in and year out. If he has another season as he did in 2019, there won’t be any analysts leaving him out of their top 100 lists.