By Logan Leslie
Over the last year, we as Pittsburgh Steelers fans have had a rough go of it. We lost our Hall of Fame quarterback in Ben Roethlisberger for the season, and missed the playoffs for the second year in a row. But we have also gained one player who can hopefully be an all-time great when it is all said and done. Who is this player? … Minkah Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick was traded from the Miami Dolphins to the Steelers on September 17, 2019. He instantly changed the secondary from average, to one of the best in the league. At the conclusion of the season, Minkah had solidified himself as a Pro Bowler, First Team All-Pro, and the best safety in the NFL. He totaled 68 total tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 3 fumble recoveries, 5 interceptions and a touchdown. He became so feared by teams, that in the last eight weeks of the regular season, he was targeted a grand total of twice. This is no coincidence. It’s a testament to how incredibly talented he is.
Even with such an amazing first season in Pittsburgh, what makes it warranted for me to say he could be an all-time great when it’s all said and done? Let’s look at the numbers between Fitz and Troy Polamalu‘s first two seasons:
Player A: 145 total tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 5 interceptions and a touchdown
Player B: 148 total tackles, 2 forced fumbles, 7 interceptions and a touchdown
So which player is which? It’s not as easy to figure out as most would believe. What you’ll be shocked to read is Polamalu is player A and Fitzpatrick is Player B. Yes, Fitz is the player with the slightly better numbers, but what’s not shown in the comparison is Minkah’s 3 fumble recoveries, a Pro Bowl and an All-Pro selection to Polamalu’s zero. He has become a superstar for this defense.
Whether you’re still upset with the parting of a first round pick, or insulted I have compared an all-time great with a second year player, the numbers don’t lie. Fitzpatrick is the future of this defense and I believe he is the most valuable player heading into next season.
Agree or disagree? Sound off in the comment section below!