Why Minkah Fitzpatrick is the most important Steeler player
By Austin Lloyd
Multiple observations point to Minkah Fitzpatrick being the most important Pittsburgh Steelers player on the roster right now.
The Steelers having a stacked depth chart is not new knowledge to the NFL community whatsoever. But some big names have come up when discussing who all should maybe move on to greener pastures for the sake of relieving salary cap strain. A couple of these aforementioned names are ones like Ben Roethlisberger and JuJu Smith-Schuster. With that in mind, many may think that just about no player is safe from the possibility of getting the boot.
However, one name that has been kept out of everyone’s mouths is that of Pittsburgh safety Minkah Fitzpatrick. Now, why is this? He is an outstanding talent, there is no doubt about that. But such a statement can be made about a plethora of weapons on the Steelers roster. So what else is there that makes Fitzpatrick so vital as an individual performer?
Firstly, taking a peek at Minkah’s personal statistics (such as age) can tell us a lot about why he would be seen as less expendable than some others on the team. At the ripe age of 24, he is not “new” to the league, as he has already amassed a few professional seasons under his belt. But at the same time, it also means that he is nowhere near being considered too old, possessing enough years remaining for us to declare that he has most likely not even reached his prime yet. Already being a Pro Bowler without even showing the football world the best you can do must not go unnoticed.
Upon going beyond Fitzpatrick himself and looking at the defensive back units as a whole, we see what is easily one of the categories with the least attrition on the field. There is Minkah, along with Joe Haden, Mike Hilton, and…yeah the line gets pretty thin after that. Even though that lineup of DBs is solid, Minkah is without a doubt the best one of the bunch.
The hefty influence of a player’s age on his overall quality of performance is why Big Ben has had his name thrown around the removal talks. Meanwhile, the evident depth of the Steelers’ wide receiver corps is what keeps JuJu’s presence on questionable terms. Of course, disruption in the media is something that I can’t imagine is too helpful either. But that is something else that Fitzpatrick can take pride in: he is rarely in the source for something not pertaining to his impactful play.
Whether it is age, value to a position, character, or all of the above, Minkah Fitzpatrick checks the box as a sturdy piece of the puzzle as far as what makes the Pittsburgh Steelers the organization they are today. Even as an avid fan of the franchise, I can admit that some of the takes spewed around the Steel City society is completely and utterly ridiculous. But despite that truth, no critics have tried to argue for Minkah’s extermination from the team on a major scale. That alone should speak volumes of his role in any success that the black and gold come across.