Tue. Oct 22nd, 2019

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Top pick Minkah Fitzpatrick begins working on…

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Top pick Minkah Fitzpatrick begins working on...


Dolphins safety Minkah Fitzpatrick: ‘I didn’t come here just to be a first-round pick.’ He wants to ‘establish a great legacy here.’ (Allen Eyestone / The Palm Beach Post)

(Note: This continues a series in Daily Dolphin spotlighting members of the team individually. In addition to reliving highlights and lowlights of the past season for each, we’ll provide analysis and criticism, plus take a look at how each player fits — or doesn’t fit — into the team’s plans for 2018.)

S Minkah Fitzpatrick

Height, weight: 6-1, 202

College: Alabama

Age: 21

Experience: Rookie

Acquired: First-round pick (11th overall)

Contract: Has a four-year, $16.4 million rookie contract

In 2017

Stats: Had 60 tackles, 1.5 sacks, nine passes defensed and one interception for Crimson Tide. … Won Chuck Bednarik Award as nation’s top defensive player

Straight talk: We’re already seeing signs of why the selection of Fitzpatrick, which wasn’t a pick based on need, instead was labeled a safe pick.

Fitzpatrick arrived in South Florida happy to be taken 11th overall and saying it was a goal, but insisting it wasn’t an end goal.

“I didn’t come here just to be a first-round pick,” he said. “I wanted to be a great player here and establish a great legacy here.”

Minkah Fitzpatrick of the Alabama Crimson Tide holds the trophy while celebrating with his team after defeating the Georgia Bulldogs in overtime to win the national championship in January. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)

Fitzpatrick did that at Alabama, drawing rare praise from Nick Saban. Given Saban’s relationship with Dolphins coach Adam Gase, there’s no question the Dolphins received a full scouting report from Saban before making the pick.

“He’s probably about as advertised,” defensive coordinator Matt Burke said. “He’s really sharp. He’s thirsty for knowledge and for more, and we’re trying to overload him a little bit. We keep giving him more and he keeps taking it. He spends a lot of extra time in the building on his own, working out, studying film.”

One person Fitzpatrick hopes to impress this fall is owner Stephen Ross, who reportedly had to be sold on the team drafting Fitzpatrick.

“I heard about it,” Fitzpatrick said. “He’s a businessman, so he’s going to see the business side of everything. It’s a little extra motivation just to prove that I am the worthy pick, that I deserve to be here.”

Prospects for 2018

The study time Fitzpatrick puts in is important for any rookie, but that much more so for a player who’s seeing reps at strong safety, free safety and nickel. His spring reps were about evenly distributed among the three, with more wrinkles to come in training camp.

The Dolphins have kicked around the possibility of fielding three safeties, with Fitzpatrick lining up alongside Reshad Jones and T.J. McDonald. As for now, all accounts say Fitzpatrick isn’t overwhelmed.

“They’re not putting too much on me, but they’re definitely putting a lot on me at the same time,” he said during OTAs.

Some spring workouts were open to the media but many were not.

“He’s got his hands on a lot of balls,” Gase said. “He’s had a few interceptions. He seems to be all over the place.”

***

Photos: Live from Miami Dolphins OTAs in Davie

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Check out The Palm Beach Post‘s Miami Dolphins page on Facebook.

Author: Hal Habib

Hal Habib’s earliest memories of the Dolphins were as a kid, seeking autographs from Bob Griese and Dick Anderson, and a bit later in life, sitting in Section J of the Orange Bowl, wondering why he was sticking around when Dan Fouts and the Chargers were up 24-0 in the first quarter of a playoff game. A few electric hours later, he had his answer and fall Sundays were never the same. Odd fact: Hal, who spent 19 years as a sports writer and editor at The Miami Herald and 15 at The Post, attended the same school as Andrew Abramson — Cooper City High, a few minutes from Dolphins training camp.

Top pick Minkah Fitzpatrick begins working on ‘great legacy’ with Miami Dolphins

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