Minkah Fitzpatrick, the team’s No. 1 pick in 2018, is listed as the second team strong safety, an indication the Miami Dolphins plan to use him at multiple positions
DAVIE – Minkah Fitzpatrick, the Dolphins top pick in the 2018 draft, is not focused on the depth chart.
“I didn’t see the depth chart,” Fitzpatrick said Wednesday. “I don’t worry about a piece of paper. It don’t mean nothing.”
Fitzpatrick, who started 11 games last season, is listed as the team’s second-team strong safety behind Reshad Jones, an indication the team expects to use Fitzpatrick at multiple positions, something coaches are looking for from several players. The secondary, especially, will be busy, with up to seven defensive backs on the field at one time.
In just more than a year with the organization, Fitzpatrick has played cornerback, free safety, strong safety and as the nickel back. This is not unlike the way he was used in college at Alabama.
“Week to week it changes,” Fitzpatrick said when asked if his assignments have been narrowed. “In spring and in camp you’re just learning all different spots so during the season when you do have to move around.”
With Xavien Howard and Eric Rowe listed as the starting cornerbacks and Jones and Bobby McCain the safeties, Fitzpatrick and Jomal Wiltz will be on the field in the nickel and dime packages. But five and six defensive backs could be more the norm for this team.
“We try to teach all these guys all different positions, so this week they could be playing one position, next week they could be playing a totally different position,” safeties coach Tony Oden said. “But until you get to that point you have to see who can do everything so you move people around a lot and put them in different positions.”
Fitzpatrick, though, made it clear last month he did not feel he was suited to play strong safety, wondering if he had the size to play in the box.
“I’m not 215 pounds, 220 pounds,” the 207-pound Fitzpatrick said then. “So, playing in the box isn’t best suited for me, but that’s what coach is asking me to do. I might lose some of the matchups in the box, but I’m going to try my hardest.”
The question was asked after Fitzpatrick’s mother, Melissa, responded to criticism about her son’s play by tweeting, “Maybe it’s because (Minkah) is not a (strong safety) and is being used to suit other people skill set not his own.”
Minkah Fitzpatrick brushed that off as his mother having his back.
With the team preparing for Sunday’s season opener against the Ravens at Hard Rock Stadium, the players have tightened the circle after a flurry of trades that decimated the roster and clearly defined the organization’s direction. Still, these players don’t want to hear anything about tanking or a roster lacking talent.
“It doesn’t really matter what anybody says outside of this building whether it be fans, other teams, coaches, players,” Fitzpatrick said. “It doesn’t matter what anybody else says. Nobody else is working, nobody else is doing what we are doing, nobody knows what we’re doing and nobody knows the focus that we have and the potential we have.
“All they’re focusing on are negatives. I think we have great potential even though we got a bunch of new pieces. There’s a lot of talent in the room and we have a really high ceiling.”