The Denver Broncos, after a ton of speculation about quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft and even some serious buzz about Aaron Rodgers, have passed on quarterbacks altogether. With the 9th pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, George Paton’s first as a general manager in the NFL, the Denver Broncos selected Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
With all that has transpired in recent weeks, it’s safe to say that this was a conservative selection for the Denver Broncos, and there’s nothing wrong with that.
Fair or not, Patrick Surtain II will have to play up to the level of the Denver Broncos passing on Justin Fields with the 9th overall pick.
The Chicago Bears traded up to the 11th pick to select Fields shortly after the Denver Broncos selected Surtain.
Let’s be clear about one thing — Patrick Surtain could be the best defensive player in the entire 2021 NFL Draft. He was selected right behind fellow NFL legacy Jaycee Horn, but Surtain could have easily been the top defensive player off the board and that is not just because this was a poor class.
Surtain has size, speed, playmaking ability, and a very, very high floor at the next level.
In three seasons with the Crimson Tide, Surtain II had four interceptions, four forced fumbles, and 24 passes broken up. He joins a loaded secondary which the Denver Broncos have invested their primary assets in this offseason.
And when we say all of their primary assets, we mean all of them.
They signed Justin Simmons to the richest deal for a safety in NFL history in terms of average annual value.
They signed cornerback Ronald Darby for three years, $30 million.
They signed cornerback Zach Fuller for one year, $9 million.
They also re-signed Kareem Jackson to play one more season with the team at least.
It’s a fascinating pick for a team that doesn’t have clarity at the quarterback position. The acquisition of Teddy Bridgewater gave the Broncos a fail-safe and this selection speaks volumes of what the team thinks of Drew Lock compared to the field of quarterbacks in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Surtain has all of the tools to be an elite CB1 at the NFL level and George Paton spoke to the media about the fact that he was with the Dolphins when Surtain’s father played for them. Patrick Surtain was a very good cornerback in the 90s and 2000s, and Paton thinks Junior is better.
The Denver Broncos could look to the 2021 NFL Draft to continue to fortify Vic Fangio's defense. Here's a fun defense-only mock draft scenario.
Although the disappointment of not taking a quarterback (or not trading for Aaron Rodgers) is going to make this pick shine a little bit less for a lot of fans, Surtain is a great prospect who will likely be CB1 in Denver by 2022.