Sports

49ers draft preview: Is DB Minkah Fitzpatrick a fit?


First in a series looking at potential candidates for the 49ers’ first-round selection when they draft No. 9 overall on April 26:

49ers’ draft prospect: Minkah Fitzpatrick

College: Alabama

Position: Defensive back

Ht/Wt: 6-foot-1, 201 pounds

Why he fits the 49ers: Fitzpatrick’s ability to play nickel back and transition to safety should sound familiar. That is also how 2014 first-round pick Jimmie Ward opened his career, and with Ward entering the final year of his contract at a team-high $8.5 million salary, perhaps the 49ers spy Fitzpatrick as a younger option while again moving Ward to cornerback. Fitzpatrick plays great around the line of scrimmage and has the instincts needed at safety if the 49ers see him as an upgrade to Jaquiski Tartt and Adrian Colbert (and Ward).

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Why he doesn’t: The 49ers have bigger concerns on their roster than at nickel back and safety, where they have depth.

Scouting report: A natural in terms of playmaking ability with four touchdown returns. Looked the best on the biggest stage at a school known for winning. Can play off blocks, blitz from edge and do things most corners cannot. Playing on talent-laden Alabama team, issues with allowing receivers to separate as well not always being aware while playing the deep middle as a safety were hidden.

Quotable: “I’d say I’m strongest covering man to man — whether it be inside corner or outside corner or at safety coming down in coverages. It’s pretty much what I did my whole career at Alabama,” Fitzpatrick when asked by reports at NFL scouting combine about his biggest strength as a player.

…read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Sports

      

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