4 Steelers that have been vastly overrated during 2021

Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39). Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports
Pittsburgh Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick (39). Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports /
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Minkah Fitzpatrick #39 of the Pittsburgh Steelers. (Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images) /

Steelers Minkah Fitzpatrick

Once again, like Harris, putting Minkah Fitzpatrick here doesn’t mean that he is a bad player. He is a top-five free safety in the league and is one of the best young defensive backs in the league. The issue with him is two-fold: fans perceive him as an elite defender no matter where he lined up and some even consider him the best defender on the team. Unfortunately, he isn’t either of those at this point.

The latter of the points is a laughable argument. Fitzpatrick is a good defensive back but the studs along the front seven are far more critical to the success of this team. T.J. Watt is without a doubt the best player on this defense and Cameron Heyward is right behind him. Fitzpatrick is a good player, but he isn’t near the best nor most important player on this defense.

In terms of where he is lined up, Fitzpatrick is dynamic when lined up as the single-high safety. Him being that last line of defense and ballhawk deep is a great fit for him. He doesn’t do as well when lined up closer to the line of scrimmage or in the slot though. The team tried him there earlier this season and the results weren’t great.

To be a truly elite free safety, you either have to be like Ed Reed or Tyrann Mathieu. Reed was effective in essentially eliminating the deep pass and making offenses pay with elite interception skills. Mathieu is a chess piece that can be effective as a free safety but can also play close to the line or in the slot. Just because Fitzpatrick isn’t as good as either of these players doesn’t make him bad. It does make his perceived value overrated though, as some see Fitzpatrick as an elite player. Until Fitzpatrick becomes one of those two, his perceived value will remain overrated.

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The Steelers have had a relatively disappointing 2021, and part of that is due to the expectations from these four players. While these players haven’t all been bad, their actual play vs what is expected of them makes them overrated.