Minkah Fitzpatrick can still make a big impact on Pittsburgh's defense even when he isn't generating big plays.
Fitzpatrick was once again voted as the top safety in the league by The Associated Press, repeating his No. 1 spot from the preseason.
A panel of nine AP Pro Football Writers ranked the top five players at safety, making their selections based on current status through Week 8. First-place votes were worth 10 points. Second through fifth-place votes were worth 5, 3, 2 and 1 points.
Fitzpatrick was the only player named on all nine ballots, getting eight first-place and one second-place vote. Derwin James was named on eight ballots and got one first-place vote and three seconds and came in second. Justin Simmons was third, Jevon Holland, fourth, and Jessie Bates, fifth.
1. MINKAH FITZPATRICK, Pittsburgh Steelers
Fitzpatrick has been a first-team All-Pro in three of the past four seasons. He had 17 interceptions and five fumble recoveries the past four seasons but doesn't have a takeaway yet in 2023. But he is still a key part of a defense that has carried the Steelers the first half of this season.
2. DERWIN JAMES, Los Angeles Chargers
James is one of the most versatile safeties with the ability to play deep, in the box as an extra run supporter or in the slot covering shifty receivers. He has two takeaways this season and has shown once again that he is one of the top safeties when healthy.
3. JUSTIN SIMMONS, Denver Broncos
While the Broncos have had their issues defensively this season, Simmons is clearly not part of the problem. One of the best deep safeties since entering the league in 2016, Simmons is still playing at a high level as evidenced by his three takeaways in two games against Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs. Simmons is tied for the most takeaways in the league over the last five seasons with 25.
4. JEVON HOLLAND, Miami Dolphins
Holland joined this list thanks to his versatility and adaptability that have been a key part of new coordinator Vic Fangio's defense in Miami. Holland plays deep, in the box and in the slot and has become an impact player in all of those roles in his third season.
5. JESSIE BATES, Atlanta Falcons
After a strong five-year run with Cincinnati, Bates has made an immediate impact in Atlanta. He had two interceptions and a forced fumble in his first game and has been a key part of one of the league's most improved defenses.
AP NFL: https://apnews.com/hub/nfl