Read-Option: A Position Worth The Pick?

Getting back to things more Bucs-centric, what’s Minkah Fitzpatrick’s price in the NFL draft going to look like?

We looked at the film. There is plenty to like, but there’s also a bit of a risk involved. Fitzpatrick is in no way a finish product at any of the positions he played in college. He’s probably most comfortable as a nickel cornerback, then maybe as a strong safety and then free safety and outside cornerback after that.

Alabama S Minkah Fitzpatrick - Photo by: Getty Images
Alabama S Minkah Fitzpatrick – Photo by: Getty Images

But how high do you draft a nickel corner? How high do you draft a strong safety?

I’ve had Fitzpatrick going in the early and late teens in my two mock drafts so far and people have commented saying there’s no way Fitzpatrick lasts that long because he’s a top talent in the class. Talent-wise? Sure. I buy that easy.

But if most of the NFL doesn’t view Fitzpatrick as an outside cornerback, which they don’t, you tell me where he’s going as a nickel corner in the Top 10. Fighting for a selection with four quarterbacks, a top pass rusher and an elite offensive lineman is an uphill battle.

But, if he’s viewed as a potential shutdown corner, that changes things.

Here’s the data of drafts between 2013 and 2016 and how those positions were prioritized.

POSTop 10Top 20Top 32
Outside CB (2013)124
Nickel CB000
Safety023
Outside CB (2014)113
Nickel CB001
Safety014
Outside CB (2015)033
Nickel CB001
Safety001
Outside CB (2016)224
Nickel CB000
Safety012

Fitzpatrick’s price tag would be highest if he were view as an outside corner.

A lot of people think that you start Fitzpatrick at safety or nickel in the NFL and if he becomes more than that, fine. I disagree. I think you draft Fitzpatrick and you treat him as if you’re playing him at outside cornerback on day one. He’s going to be raw at outside corner, so it might take some time, but I’ll take my bet on a guy with that much work ethic, that alluring of a mentality and that much natural ability. If you don’t give him a shot at outside corner right off the bat, you’re doing wherever you selected him a disservice.

The question is, will that be at No. 7 for the Buccaneers, and do they project him to cornerback or safety/nickel?