Alabama in the Pros

Former Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick lands at No. 35 on NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2020

Minkah Fitzpatrick returning an interception vs. Colts in 2019 season
Philip G. Pavely - USA TODAY Sports

Alabama football lands its fifth former standout on the NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2020.

A native of Old Bridge, N.J., Minkah Fitzpatrick was a rare breed for the Crimson Tide.

He arrived as a five-star defensive back in the 2015 class and became one of the most impactful leaders in school history. His career ended with 171 tackles, 24 pass breakups, nine interceptions and four touchdowns. He was a two-time College Football Playoff National Champion (2015, 2017), a two-time Southeastern Conference champion (2015-16), a two-time consensus All-American (2016-17), a Chuck Bednarik Award winner (2017) and a Jim Thorpe Award winner (2017).

Although the Miami Dolphins selected him in the first round (No. 11 overall) of the 2018 NFL Draft, Fitzpatrick has felt more at home with the Pittsburgh Steelers of the AFC North.

RELATED: Two more former Tide standouts land on NFL’s Top 100 Players of 2020

After two games with the Dolphins in 2019, Pittsburgh acquired Fitzpatrick in a trade for a first-round pick.

The move paid off for Mike Tomlin and the Steel City as the ball-hawking safety is what the Steelers needed.

In 14 regular season games, Fitzpatrick had Pittsburgh’s defense surging. The franchise was fifth in total defense (304.1 ypg), third in pass defense (194.6 ypg) and eighth in first downs allowed (304). Fitzpatrick anchored a group that allowed the third-lowest rating to opposing quarterbacks, 79.7, behind the Baltimore Ravens (77.5) and New England Patriots (62.8).

The 6-foot-1, 207-pounder had 57 tackles, nine pass breakups, five interceptions, one forced fumble, two fumble recoveries and two touchdowns. Although the Steelers finished 2019 with an 8-8 record, it made a huge push for the playoffs.

For his efforts, Fitzpatrick made his debut on the NFL’s Top 100 at No. 35.

He earned a trip to the Pro Bowl and earned first-team NFL All-Pro honors last year.

Former Alabama players on NFL’s Top 100 list of 2020

-Marlon Humphrey, Baltimore Ravens (CB – No. 86)

-Josh Jacobs, Las Vegas Raiders (RB – No. 72)

-Amari Cooper, Dallas Cowboys (WR – No. 49)

-Mark Ingram, Baltimore Ravens (RB – No. 44)

-Minkah Fitzpatrick, Pittsburgh Steelers (FS – No. 35)

Big things will be expected from Fitzpatrick this fall.

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Stephen M. Smith is the managing editor and senior writer for Touchdown Alabama Magazine.  You can “like” him on Facebook or “follow” him on Twitter, via @CoachingMSmith.

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