Imagine a bigger, faster, stronger version of Tyrann “Honey Badger” Mathieu.
That might be the best way to describe Alabama junior defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick. Fitzpatrick, an All-American in 2016, has been the best player on the Crimson Tide’s defense so far this season. NFL Media Analyst Daniel Jeremiah recently said Fitzpatrick might be “the least talked about elite player in the country.”
Fitzpatrick’s greatest strength is his chameleon-like versatility. Listed at 6-foot-1, 202 pounds (Mathieu’s listed at 5-foot-9, 186 pounds), he can line up at a plethora of positions. “We have six different positions in the secondary and he’s played every one of them,” Alabama head coach Nick Saban told NCAA.com. “I don’t ever remember having anybody that’s played all the roles he’s played here and done it as well as he’s done it.”
Fitzpatrick has sterling technique and high football intelligence, but it’s his elite athleticism that ties everything together. It was reported that Fitzpatrick clocked a 4.39 40-Yard Dash in front of NFL scouts last spring. Only seven players at the 2016 NFL Combine clocked below a 4.40. Even crazier, Fitzpatrick clocked a 3.87 20-Yard Shuttle at Nike event when he was in high school. Since 2006, there have only been six NFL Combine participants who recorded a faster shuttle time. Remember, Fitzpatrick did this when he was still in high school.
The dude has an insane work ethic, so he’s earned everything that’s coming his way. Here you can see Fitzpatrick bang out some Band-Resisted Back Pedals:
And how awesome is this clip of Fitzpatrick—still a senior in high school at the time—running drills in a half-foot of snow:
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