With the 11th overall pick in the 2018 NFL draft, the Miami Dolphins have selected defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick out of Alabama.
Fitzpatrick, 21, will bring an instant upgrade to the Miami secondary, allowing for increased versatility as he can play safety and cornerback and allows for hard-hitting safety T.J. McDonald to move into a dime linebacker role, with Fitzpatrick being the primary "center field" player.
“It’s a different type of position,” Fitzpatrick told SB Nation at the NFL Combine. “It’s kind of a combination between corner and safety. You can make calls like a safety. You can make calls like a (corner). You can rush, you can fill the holes and the gaps like a safety. But then you can cover man to man on pass downs when you need to, just like a corner. So I like playing both corner and safety, so I think slot corner’s just the optimal position.”
Fitzpatrick has made nine interceptions during his college career, returning four of them for touchdowns. He has also accumulated 171 total tackles with 16.5 for a loss and two forced fumbles.
The former Alabama standout has also been described as being a leader in the locker room; when he talked, people listened, and his former coach Nick Saban - not one to usually publicly praise his players - was adamant enough about Fitzpatrick that he even cussed about him, praising his work ethic and commitment to being great back in 2017.
Miami may not have gotten their hands on a quarterback in the first round, but they did manage to grab a player who should not have been available at 11 in Fitzpatrick, and now the Dolphins secondary is set to be one of the best the franchise has fielded in a very long time.
This story was written by Luis Sung. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung
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