What Does Raiders GM Mike Mayock Think of Dolphins Safety Minkah Fitzpatrick?

Rarely does the public get to pry into the minds of an NFL general manager. Player Information, and true evaluation, is a tightly guarded commodity, and none much more so than an actual, unbiased, scouting report.

And yet…

Oakland Raiders general manager Mike Mayock spent the previous twenty-some odd years doing just that. As a draft analysis for NFL Network, Mayock has a public and unbiased scouting reports on literally thousands of players. He even said that when evaluating potential player targets, including current Raider players, he consults his original pre-draft report.

What did Mayock think of Minkah Fitzpatrick a year ago?

Mayock actually had Fitzpatrick rated as his top safety in the 2018 NFL Draft class.

“In today’s NFL, which is a matchup league, he’s the kind of chess piece that defensive coordinators love,” Mayock said a year ago. “He can drop down and cover the slot. He can line up at free safety with great range. They played him closer to the ball this year. You can try and figure out how you want to use this kid on almost a week-to-week basis. I think he’s a free safety Day one.”

“Some people are projecting him at corner,” Mayock continued. “In this league, where you’re trying to match up against slots and tight ends in the middle of the field, this is the rare kind of guy that you can say, ‘OK, we’re going to drop him down on a slot.’ And then, in the next game, or even the next snap, you can line him up on [Rob] Gronkowski or [Travis] Kelce or one of those big tight ends and let him compete. He can literally play any position back there. He’s got free-safety range and I think he can match slots and tight ends. When you talk to Nick Saban about this kid, Nick Saban lights up.”

What does that mean for the Raiders today?

With rookie standout and 2019 first-round pick Jonathan Abrams headed to IR, the argument for replacing him with Fitzpatrick is sound. Just because the Raiders have signed free agent safety Juston Burris, does not preclude the team from doing their due diligence on Minkah. In fact, given his initial assessment, and the potential need on the team, I imagine Mayock is doing exactly that. It does not mean the Raiders will land the Miami defensive standout, because there will be competition for his services, and if any team was currently willing to trade a first round pick, of which the Raiders have two next year, than I believe a deal would have already be done.

Now Miami might get their reported asking price of a first-round pick, the Raiders certainly did for wide receiver Amari Cooper last season, but as of now teams appear disinterested in the Dolphins sticker price.

Is Minkah Fitzpatrick Worth a First Round Pick?

In a perfect world, absolutely. He had a rookie campaign that met or even exceeded his draft selection. He seems to be a man of good character, and after a year in the league, appears to be free of baggage.

Why is Fitzpatrick available?

This is certainly the question to ask. However, with Miami looking more and more like a team in the midst of a fire sale, it has been noted that many players are currently unhappy. Could that be a reason? Most likely.

As to why no team has put up a first-round pick, that’s more complicated. NFL GMs rarely pony up a first-round pick for anyone. Management meetings are usually done, with input from everyone on the coaching staff. Roster’s are set, and it takes time to coach up a player to their particular scheme. And draft capital is typically worth more, in the form of a blank check, than what was actually spent on the player.

At the end of the day, I see the Raiders being very intrigued about the possibility of adding Fitzpatrick. This is based on Mayock’s own evaluation and his continued assertion that the Raiders will always look to improve roster talent at every position. If the Raiders chose to go after Fitzpatrick, he would undoubtedly be a solid addition to to an already improved defense.

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