Packers 2018 Draft: Minkah Fitzpatrick the man for Green Bay

TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 30: Minkah Fitzpatrick
TUSCALOOSA, AL - SEPTEMBER 30: Minkah Fitzpatrick /

The Green Bay Packers should pursue the next Charles Woodson.

The Green Bay Packers need to target Minkah Fitzpatrick, a do-it-all defensive back extraordinaire out of Alabama. He has good size and length at 6-foot, 200 pounds, with long arms he uses well.

While “long”  bodied he is not lanky or spindly, possessing a good frame and musculature. Slightly thinner legs.

Fitzpatrick is a student of the game. He studies hours of tape which enhance his already outstanding instincts. His preparation shows up in his route recognition and in game planning opposing receivers. A dedicated team leader of the best defense in the country.

He’s a fiery competitor with a grinder mentality (sort of an athletically souped up Blake Martinez) and a high football IQ. Great anticipation and is always around the ball.

Fitzpatrick furthers his value as a demon on special teams. You can throw on his tape and watch him block a field goal and then on next highlight watch him fly down to make a beautiful solo open field tackle on the returner.

He has a nose for the end-zone, turning four of his nine interceptions into pick-sixes. He also plays much faster than his 4.47 posted 40-time.

Pass rusher

As a pass rusher Fitzpatrick is well above average already and does some things very well that he can build on. He has good snap anticipation, shoots the gap well and slips past blockers. Good hitter, solid tackler who wraps up and finishes well. Tracks the ball carrier well and closes to engage, good vision.

In coverage

As a pass defender Fitzpatrick is a stud. He has excellent take-on ability. Has length and athleticism to take on the bigger receivers but also has the quickness and agility to mirror the slot. Light on his feet, accelerates quick and smoothly, good low backpedal. He allows very little separation in coverage, forcing the QB to throw into tight windows.

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Fitzpatrick has great body control, a contortionist who has very good spatial awareness and can use the sideline to his advantage. Excellent hands and ball skills. Good vertical to high point contested, 50/50 balls. Good closing speed including a last second burst to undercut routes or to accelerate on his way to pressuring the QB.

Fantastic versatility, can line up in any position in secondary. Also played enough in the box to have real familiarity with a hybrid linebacker position as used by the Packers. Great talent for DC Mike Pettine to deploy. He will quickly grow into the centerpiece of the secondary and quite possibly the entire defense.

The cherry on top

To put a cherry on top of this sugar coated prospect is this little tid-bit.

In 2017, Fitzpatrick became only the third player to win both the Bednarik Award (for the best defender in the country) and the Jim Thorpe Award (for the nation’s top pass defender) in the same year.

The other two players? Patrick Peterson in 2010 and, wait for it … Charles Woodson in his magical 1997 campaign.

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Fitzpatrick can be that type of player for the Packers, and if they need to trade up on April 26, it won’t be at a king’s ransom.

Gute, find a way to get this kid to Green Bay.