ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. explains why Minkah Fitzpatrick may slide in the NFL Draft
When the 2018 NFL Draft kicks off next week, former Alabama DB Minkah Fitzpatrick will likely be one of the first two SEC players off the board, along with Georgia LB Roquan Smith.
However, ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. thinks there’s a chance the talented defender could experience a bit of a slide in the first round.
On a conference call on Wednesday, Kiper said that Fitzpatrick playing so many different positions in Alabama’s secondary may actually hurt him in the eyes of NFL teams (via AL.com):
“It’s good news/bad news,” Kiper said. “He can play anywhere but will he be great at one spot in the NFL? He’s so smart. He’s done a great job under Nick Saban there being a key difference maker in the secondary. At corner, safety, slot corner. He’s done everything. All he does is continuously make plays.”
Kiper added that there are a couple of other defensive backs who have more defined roles, and therefore could vault ahead of Fitzpatrick:
“You have a true safety in Derwin James from Florida State and a true cover corner in Denzel Ward,” Kiper said. “You know what they are. With Minkah, you say can he define a role and can he be great at that one spot or are you going to move him around? How are you going to utilize him? I think the defensive coordinators of these individual teams are going to have to make that call. He’ll probably be there for the 49ers at 9, which I think would be a good spot for him.”
Only time will tell where Fitzpatrick ends up, but teams like the Denver Broncos, Tampa Bay Buccaneers and San Francisco 49ers, all of whom have top-10 picks, will likely take a long look at the former Alabama star.