Minkah Fitzpatrick was selected by the Miami Dolphins with the No. 11 overall pick in the first round of the National Football League Draft on Thursday.
Fitzpatrick is the highest Alabama defensive back drafted since Dee Milliner went ninth overall in 2013.
“I think Minkah is sort of a rare commodity in the fact that he’s such a gifted athlete and has such a great personality,” UA coach Nick Saban said on ESPN’s Get Up! on Wednesday morning. “He’s such a competitive guy that’s a pleasure to coach in everything that he does. He’s really an overachiever for a guy that’s a fantastic athlete. That’s a rare combination, I think, in this day and age. He has high goals and aspirations for what he wants to do, and I think he meets all the critical factors for what you look for in a DB. He’s a good tackler, he has great ball skills, can play man-to-man. I think he’s going to be a great player for someone.”
Fitzpatrick was a three-year starter who played corner, safety, and nickel extensively for the Crimson Tide.He’s among the most decorated players of the Nick Saban era at Alabama. He won the 2017 Jim Thorpe Award, given to the nation’s best defensive back, and the Chuck Bednarik Award as the best defensive player in college football.
He was a unanimous All-America selection and a unanimous choice for first-team All-SEC as a junior. He was also voted as a permanent team captain by his teammates.
He finished the 2017 season with 60 tackles, fourth-most on the team, including eight tackles for loss and 1.5 sacks. He had one interception this season and eight pass breakups, finishing his career with nine total interceptions and 35 passes defended. He has also scored five touchdowns in his career, four on interceptions and one on a blocked punt.
He was named to the freshman All-SEC team in 2015, then was a first-team all-conference choice in 2016 and 2017.
Alabama will have to replace nearly its entire secondary from the 2017 season. Fitzpatrick and fellow junior Ronnie Harrison both declared for the draft. Seniors Anthony Averett, Levi Wallace, Hootie Jones and Tony Brown exhausted their eligibility.