How the Minkah Fitzpatrick Trade turned the Steelers season around
|It was the Monday morning after a 28-26 loss to the Seattle Seahawks. An 0-2 Steelers were given the news that they’d be without their Franchise Quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for the rest of the 2019 season. All hope seemed lost right? This is what was running through the minds of every fan of the black and yellow. Then ironically enough that same Monday news broke that the Steelers had traded their 1st Round draft pick for the 2020 Draft to the Miami Dolphins. What did the Steelers get in return? A versatile 2nd year defensive back from Alabama named Minkah Fitzpatrick. Initially this trade received nothing but scrutiny due to the fact that this season seemed like a loss cause with Big Ben out for the year. Why would you trade a draft pick that could bring a potential new quarterback for the future just to get a 2nd year player from a tanking Dolphins team? This is what everyone’s though process was. But what this came to be was a blessing in disguise.
Since coming to the Pittsburgh Steelers Minkah Fitzpatrick has transformed this defense into one of the best in the league. A defense that has been a liability for the last several seasons has seemingly returned back to their steel curtain days with the likes of T.J Watt, Cam Heyward, and rookie Devin Bush. Fitzapatrick’s presence in the backend of the secondary has been key. In his 11 games with the Steelers this season he’s had 46 tackles, 2 fumble recoveries, 5 interceptions, and 2 defensive touchdowns. His contributions to the defense has helped the Steelers go from 1-4 to 8-5 on the season and currently holding the final wild card spot in the AFC. Fitzaptrick’s playmaking ability is something that hasn’t been seen in the Steelers secondary since Troy Polamalu. This has seemingly been a match made in heaven.
During Minkah’s rookie season he played every position in the secondary for Miami. He played Safety one week then Corner the next. This played a big role in Fitzpatrick being unhappy with his position in Miami. Not having a set position made gameplaning very difficult on a week to week basis for Fitzpatrick. As soon as he came to the Steelers there was no question what position he was going to play. The Steelers were in dire need of a free safety when they lost their 4th year starting free safety Sean Davis for the year with a torn labrum. So when you add all that up you get Minkah Fitzpatrick as the Steelers new starting free safety and he hasn’t looked back since. He’s found a home patrolling the deep middle of the field at free safety.
A trade that was heavily criticized in week 3 of the season has now been given nothing but praise. Minkah Fitzpatrick has now become one of the best safeties in the game today in just his 2nd season and has become a serious candidate for defensive player of the year. In a season that has seen injury upon injury face this 2019 Steelers team, they refuse to give up and look to make a push for the playoffs despite the circumstances faced. While Fitzpatrick is not solely responsible for the Steelers turnaround this season it can’t be denied that he was the missing piece in a young defense that needed a true game changer at safety. So Minkah I think Steelers Nation would like to thank you for being the Fitz that saved Pittsburgh this season. Thanks for proving us “so called” experts wrong.