Minkah Fitzpatrick understands the value of his skill set.
At 6-foot-1 Adidas Claude Giroux Jersey , 201 pounds, he hits like a safety. His speed, hip movement and feet might make him more tailored to cornerback.
So the Alabama star is spending this weekend explaining to NFL scouts he can excel at either, both or some combination of the positions.
"It's a different kind of position, kind of like a combination between safety and corner," said Fitzpatrick, describing the slot corner spot he played in college. "I like to play both safety and corner, so I think slot corner is optimal for my abilities."
If true, Fitzpatrick would be one of the rarest commodities in football 鈥?a tweener with an actual fit.
Traditionally when players at the NFL's annual scouting combine are explaining what position suits them best, it's because team executives aren't sure where they should play and the player's draft stock sinks.
But Fitzpatrick's physical gifts could make him a trend-setter in a league that has become increasingly more pass-happy and places a premium on versatility.
He was recruited as a true cornerback, moved to slot corner before the 2015 season, won the starting job and never relinquished it. Coach Nick Saban was so impressed he usually paired Fitzpatrick on the opponent's top receiver, one-on-one.
It didn't take long for Fitzpatrick to make an impact.
After being selected to the SEC's all-freshman team in 2015, he earned first-team All-American honors in 2016 and 2017.
Now he's off to the NFL, where teams are trying to figure out what Saban once did 鈥?the best place for Fitzpatrick to play.
"I think he could play all six defensive back positions. Both corners Sean Lee Jersey Elite , both safeties, nickel and dime linebacker," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said Saturday. "He's the only guy I can say that about. Now, is that a good thing or a bad thing? I've had a couple of coaches say to me, 'Hey, is he a difference-maker? Is he a nickel? Where's his ball production?' He had six picks two years ago, but only had one this year. But I look at (his versatility) as a positive."
Mayock's sentiment may explain why Fitzpatrick appears to have a slight edge on his competition right now. He's projected to be a top-five pick.
Some expect Ohio State's Denzel Ward, a true cornerback, to be selected in the top 10 with Florida State safety Derwin James the only other defensive back tabbed for the top 20.
The workouts in Indianapolis, which conclude Monday, will help determined the actual pecking order in April.
But one thing working in Fitzpatrick's favor: work ethic.
While growing up in New Jersey, he sometimes helped his father fix trucks.
After the family's home collapsed during Hurricane Irene in 2011, Fitzpatrick helped his parents rebuild.
And when the Catholic high school he attended provided peanut butter and jelly sandwiches to students who couldn't afford school lunches, Fitzpatrick ate them up.
So when he arrived at the combine, less than two months away from possibly hitting a multimillion-dollar jackpot Ty Montgomery Jersey Youth , the reality finally hit.
"It's really crazy," Fitzpatrick said. "I remember the second I got here, I was laying in bed, looked up at the ceiling and just started smiling."
Yes, it's been a long trek here for Fitzpatrick and his family.
Yet he hasn't forgotten his blue-collar roots, his humble perspective on life or his passion for football. It's served him well, so far.
"I think he's going to go out there and run like a corner, have the size of a safety, and if you're a defensive coordinator and take him in the top 10, you've got to have a plan," Mayock said. "What is he? Is he my safety, is he my corner, is he my nickel? Or is he a piece that I can match up week to week against a big wideout or a tight end? How you use him is ultimately going to determine the value of him."
The Seattle Mariners signed general manager Jerry Dipoto to a multiyear contract extension on Friday, a reward for the club being on track to end the longest playoff drought in the four major professional sports in the U.S.
The agreement comes with the Mariners 24 games above .500, and striving to make the postseason for the first time since 2001.
”We’re obviously happy with the work he’s done so far and look forward to the next several years as well Cheap Trent Brown Jersey ,” team president and CEO Kevin Mather said. ”We are having some success on the field, but when I said the work he has done so far, I’m referring to day one. We hired him Sept. 28, 2015 and he hasn’t stopped since the day he got here.”
Since the start of the 2016 season, Dipoto’s first full year, the Mariners have the eighth-best record in the majors at 220-192. Seattle’s 56-32 start through 88 games is tied for the second-best mark in franchise history. Only the 2001 team that tied the major league mark for most wins in a season with 116 victories surpassed the start of the 2018 Mariners.
”This is a no-brainer for me,” Dipoto said. ”I told you all when I got here that this was a dream job for me. It’s a great market in a city that is starved to win, with an opportunity to be creative.”
While there are still issues in the farm system, Dipoto has succeeded in making the major league product better. He has turned over a roster that had gotten old and added key younger pieces like Mitch Haniger, Jean Segura and Dee Gordon, who are major contributors in Seattle’s start to this season.
Dipoto also has locked up key parts of Seattle’s core for the next several seasons, either through club control through arbitration or long-term extensions. Seattle’s current starting rotation is under contract through the 2019 season and the only everyday player without club control beyond this season is designated hitter Nelson Cruz.
When Dipoto took over in 2015, the Mariners were looking for stability after a tough finish to Jack Zduriencik’s tenure with the club. Dipoto himself was trying to rebuild his own career after a less than amicable departure from the Los Angeles Angels amid conflict with manager Mike Scioscia.
Dipoto made numerous moves in his first year with Seattle, starting the roster churn that added more youth to the club. Seattle won 86 games in 2016 before backsliding to 78-84 last year amid numerous injuries to the pitching staff.
Seattle was thought to be a fringe playoff contender this year but is in the thick of the hunt nearing the All-Star break.
”My time here – the 2 1/2 years – has, I think M.J. Stewart Color Rush Jersey , gone just as well as I hoped it could go, provided we finish strong,” Dipoto said.
”It takes a village to build a baseball organization, and we’ve got a pretty good village. This is a new day to move forward. The Mariners are playing very well. I’m thrilled for this group, but I’m more thrilled that this group has an opportunity to continue to do what they’re doing.”
With Dipoto locked up, the focus turns to manager Scott Servais, whose contract is up at the end of the 2018 season.
”Scott has been my partner for far longer than we’ve been here,” Dipoto said. ”Whether it be dreaming about what we wanted to create as a franchise, whether it be in player development and what we are doing in scouting, or now culminating with how to build a major league roster and how to guide it, I don’t envision a time where I’m doing my job without him doing his job.”