Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick liked how tough the New York Jets were with him during his interview.
The NFL Combine’s interview process is thought of as a chance for teams to evaluate players. But evaluations can go both ways. Just ask Alabama defensive back Minkah Fitzpatrick.
“It was a good meeting, it was the toughest meeting actually. They were grilling me, asking me a bunch of questions. Why I did something that way, why I did something else another way. They were getting me better in there. I met with coach after. He said they ‘Always poke the good ones.’ See how we handle pressure. It was a good one.”
Todd Bowles made his bones as a defensive coach before becoming head coach of the Jets, and would no doubt like to add a dynamic defensive back like Fitzpatrick.
Fitzpatrick can play both cornerback and safety, although with the Jets already having Jamal Adams and Marcus Maye at safety, it would appear that his route to playing time with the green-and-white would come at cornerback.
Adding him at cornerback would address a position that ESNY’s Mark Kelly thinks is a very important area to address this offseason. Morris Claiborne, the team’s top cornerback last season, remains a free agent.
Fitzpatrick was very successful in his three seasons at Alabama, recording 171 tackles, 16.5 sacks, nine interceptions, and two forced fumbles. Alabama has produced some excellent defensive backs in recent years, most notably New York Giants star Landon Collins.
Fitzpatrick is a sure-fire first-round pick, meaning the Jets would have to either use the sixth pick or acquire another first-rounder to get him. It’s unlikely that the Jets will use the sixth pick on him (or any defensive back) unless they win the Kirk Cousins sweepstakes, in which they are thought to be one of two finalists, along with the Minnesota Vikings.
Despite Fitzpatrick being impressed with the Jets during his interview, it’s likely that they were just kicking the tires and covering all their bases in case the draft takes an unexpected turn. However, if the Jets are taking the time to grill players that they likely won’t draft, fans can be assured that they are doing the same to players they think they will be taking.
The Jets are doing their homework to get it right in the draft this year.