PITTSBURGH — The Steelers have enjoyed some decent defensive backs throughout the team's history — and Minkah Fitzpatrick is quickly proving he belongs in the conversation.
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The Steelers surrendered a first-round pick to acquire Fitzpatrick, and the 23-year-old safety made that investment look brilliant by picking off five passes during an All-Pro season in 2019. By some measures, Fitzpatrick had one of the best seasons ever for a Pittsburgh defensive back. Pro Football Reference tracks a stat called Approximate Value (AV), which seeks to measure a player’s overall contributions. AV is adjusted by era and by position on the field, to allow for more apples-to-apples comparisons. With 19 total AV, Fitzpatrick’s 2019 season is tied for second-best among Steelers defensive backs during the post-merger era (1970-present). Rod Woodson’s 1990 season (20) comes in first, followed by Fitzpatrick, Woodson in 1992 (19), Troy Polamalu in 2008 (18), Woodson in 1994 (18), Mel Blount in 1975 (17) and Woodson in 1993 (17).
Just two years into his career, Fitzpatrick is keeping company with Hall of Famers. And side note: How good was Woodson?
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