Updated: Jun 30, 2021
(Photo by Joe Sargent/Getty Images)
Tyler Sullivan of CBS Sports released his top safeties in the NFL today, and Steelers free safety Minkah Fitzpatrick came in at No. 3 -- behind Tyran Mathieu and Justin Simmons.
I'd have Fitzpatrick over Mathieu, but Simmons at No. 1 is justified. I can see both ways with Fitzpatrick and Simmons being either No. 1 or No. 2. It's certainly better than PFF's safety rankings, which had Fitzpatrick ranked as the fifth-best safety in the league, behind Harrison Smith, John Johnson III and Marcus Williams.
"Fitzpatrick will likely be firmly inside this top five for the foreseeable future," Sullivan wrote. "During his first full season with the Steelers last year, Fitzpatrick earned his second-consecutive All-Pro nod as a member of one of the better defenses in the entire NFL. He injected an opportunistic edge to Pittsburgh's defense when he was acquired from the Dolphins in 2019 and that continued into 2020 where he started all 16 games and hauled in four interceptions. He also notched a career-high 11 pass breakups, while allowing a completion percentage of just 50. When targeted, Fitzpatrick gave up just a 65.7 passer rating."
Fitzpatrick has been named first-team All-Pro the last two seasons and has recorded nine interceptions, 20 passes defended and three defensive touchdowns since being traded by the Dolphins to the Steelers in September of 2019.
In March, Justin Simmons signed a four-year, $61 million contract with the Broncos that included $35 million guaranteed. The new deal made him the highest-paid safety in the league, averaging $15.25 million per year. Fitzpatrick should cash in on a big deal after this season and surpass Simmons as the highest-paid safety.