Minkah Fitzpatrick, DB, Alabama
The Buccaneers used to be great.
Ronde Barber, John Lynch, Simeon Rice, Warren Sapp (booooo), Derrick Brooks, and Shelton Quarles were integral pieces of a defense that will go down as one of the greatest in their 2002-2003 Super Bowl season. It was this team that delivered one of the most painful losses in Eagles history. It was Ronde Barber who put the dagger in thousands of Eagles fans that unspeakable day. Today, it is my pleasure to say that their defense is… well… not so great anymore.
In fact, their defense was simply awful last season and hasn’t been good for years now. I’d say that the pain of that day has been lessened while watching the pain the Bucs have endured since, as they have not won a single playoff game since their Super Bowl victory and haven’t made the playoffs since 2007. But simply saying that the Bucs defense is terrible would be lazy. Saying that their passing defense was dead last in the league in yards per game, 6th worst in passer rating allowed, 4th worst in completion percentage, and allowed 7.8 yards per throw would be too easy to justify my pick at number seven.
Instead, I’m going to talk about how Minkah Fitzpatrick would be the savior of a secondary that hasn’t been great since the Bucs’ glory days, how Fitzpatrick would be the star to plug up the glaring hole of the secondary in that Pirate ship and turn said ship around.
Okay, maybe not that dramatic. But for real, Fitzpatrick is hands down the best defensive back in this draft. His career at Alabama was outstanding, and he made his playmaking ability known right away with two pick-sixes against Texas A&M in his freshman year. The year after, he returned two of his six picks for touchdowns as well. He is the ultimate defensive chess piece in this draft. His versatility allows him to line up at multiple positions with relative ease. His ridiculous long-range speed will help the Bucs when aging Brett Grimes or inexperienced Vernon Hargreaves let receivers slip by, his excellent footwork will allow him to come down into the slot, and his awareness and play-making instincts will allow him to line up as a nickel linebacker.
His ability in coverage isn’t the only thing that Fitzpatrick will help him become one of the premier playmaking safeties in the league. Fitzpatrick finished with 5 sacks and 16.5 tackles for a loss in his three years in ‘Bama, giving the Bucs a solid blitzer when their pass rush falters as it did all of last season.
All in all, Minkah Fitzpatrick should be the pick for the Bucs if he reaches #7. His presence would make an immediate impact on the Bucs’ secondary - which was carried on the aging back of Brent Grimes for all of 2017 - and will give new additions Jason Pierre-Paul and good ol’ Vinny Curry more time to get to the quarterback.
Here’s to hoping this guy won’t contribute to another heartbreaker against the Bucs down the road, and that the Bucs will still be awful for years to come, because that day will never be forgotten.
Here’s some highlights in case I didn’t convince you that this is a great pick:
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2018 BGN Community Mock Draft Order
1) Browns (GMinTraining): Saquon Barkley
2) Giants (ablesser88): Quenton Nelson
3) Jets (20Safety_Hazards): Sam Darnold
4) Browns (MJ1893): Josh Rosen
5) Broncos (drc242): Baker Mayfield
6) Colts (I Need a Username): Bradley Chubb
7) Buccaneers (dunc123): Minkah Fitzpatrick
8) Bears (NVEagleShark):
9) 49ers (Doug Pederson’s Pair of Balls):
10) Raiders (Milehighbirds):
11) Dolphins (danishdynamite_):
12) Bills (LAOJoe)
13) Washington (Eagle1987):
14) Packers (89Tremaine):
15) Cardinals (TJ “Ben Simmons” Mcconnell):
16) Ravens (PhillyEagles2011):
17) Chargers (LBCeaglesFan!):
18) Seahawks (KEZHOG):
19) Cowboys (Brawnybalboa):
20) Lions (dshelton5):
21) Bengals (Palaniappan K M):
22) Bills (BeamerWentzorBentley):
23) Patriots (jy1187):
24) Panthers (dceagles):
25) Titans (ei78):
26) Falcons (SakPrescott):
27) Saints (MidMajorMatt):
28) Steelers (SummersInVA):
29) Jaguars (RecarTabmok):
30) Vikings (AnthroEagle):
31) Patriots (PhilaWolverine):
32) Eagles (JALupowitz):
Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think the Buccaneers should pick in the 2018 BGN Consensus Mock Draft.
Who should the Buccaneers draft at No. 7 overall?
This poll is closed
1) Browns: Saquon Barkley
2) Giants: Sam Darnold
3) Jets: Josh Rosen
4) Browns: Josh Allen
5) Broncos: Baker Mayfield
6) Colts: Bradley Chubb