The NFL Scouting Combine is under way in Indianapolis, and many of the nation’s top college prospects are in for a rigorous stretch of long days spent meeting with team representatives, going through medical examinations, participating in drills, and taking tests.
For former Alabama safety Minkah Fitzpatrick, the challenges might not be as great as they are for other players.
‘It’s one of my first contacts with the NFL, besides my game film’
He has an outstanding off-field reputation, which should limit the questions he gets from personnel evaluators and coaches to football, and he comes from a program that runs a pro-style defensive scheme.
“I’m really excited,” Fitzpatrick told Alex Marvez and Gil Brandt during a recent appearance on Late Hits. “Everybody tells me it’s going to be real hard, real tedious and stuff like that. But I’m just going to go into it with the mindset of it’s an interview. It’s one of my first contacts with the NFL, besides my game film. I’m just going to enjoy the whole process, because there are a lot of people that want to be in my shoes and all the other athletes’ shoes that are going to be here. So I’m just going to enjoy it, have fun with it and be myself for real.”
‘I try to take a little bit from a lot of the top players’
In his effort to impress NFL teams, Fitzpatrick should benefit greatly from the fact he is a student of his position. He makes a point of studying video of some of the top defensive backs in the game, such as Arizona’s Patrick Peterson, Jacksonville’s Jalen Ramsey, and Kansas City’s Eric Berry.
“I try to take a little bit from a lot of the top players,” Fitzpatrick said. “I just love watching film of them. That’s how I learn how to play safety pretty much and also corner a little bit, because I’ll just watch NFL corners do what they do, watch their technique. Watch NFL safeties, watch their technique, the way they make their calls, the way they lead out there.”
‘I feel most comfortable at the slot-corner position’
What does he consider his best position?
“I would say I feel most comfortable at the slot-corner position, because that’s what I played mostly,” Fitzpatrick said. “I came here as a corner and then they moved me to the slot-corner. I just got real comfortable playing there. I played pretty much all my seasons there, and they moved me around a little bit here and there. But I’d say slot-corner, because it’s kind of a combination between safety and corner. You get to play the run like a safety. You get to make some calls like a safety, but you also get to cover.”