Although the Denver Broncos‘ first-round draft selection of Patrick Surtain at pick nine overall drew mixed reactions from Broncos Country, it is a strong selection and a great environment for the Alabama corner.
While it was surprising that two quarterbacks were still available for Denver on the board and they opted to not address what is easily their biggest need, they get a quality pick in Surtain II, the son of former NFL standout corner Patrick Surtain Sr.
Prior to free agency, Surtain was a name often associated with the Denver Broncos. However, after the free agency signing of Ronald Darby and acquiring Kyle Fuller via trade, talks on Broncos going cornerback in the first round cooled significantly.
Then, with Justin Fields and Mac Jones surprisingly falling to nine, the Denver Broncos chose to grab Surtain and add depth to a cornerback room that was brutally bare following a barrage of injuries to the secondary by the end of the 2020 NFL season.
Although some may think Surtain was not a necessity, the other secondary players playing around him complement him, and this new-look Denver Broncos secondary could do significant damage in 2020.
With Bryce Callahan and Kyle Fuller on the roster for at least this season before becoming free agents, Ronald Darby being added into the mix, and safety Justin Simmons being locked down in Denver, Surtain comes in with a multitude of talent to learn from.
While these more experienced players bring leadership and mentoring to their young rookie counterpart, expect Surtain to bring the heat–although the opinion is not popular, Surtain will likely be heavy in the competition for a starting spot come Week 1.
Another way this secondary complements Patrick Surtain is that the incoming rookie displays a strength that often proved as a weakness within the secondary in the 2020 NFL season. Last season, the secondary often struggled to wrap up tackles and finish plays.
Wrapping up tackles and finishing are some of the biggest strengths of Surtain.
Between the learning and opportunities that await Surtain, and the young competition he brings to the team, the Broncos’ secondary and his playstyle just mesh well. This selection may have been head-scratching to many, but it is one of the best situations Surtain could have been drafted into.
The Denver Broncos traded back twice in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft before stealing Quinn Meinerz out of Wisconsin-Whitewater.
He will be a great addition to this Broncos secondary and don’t be surprised if he is starting sooner rather than later.