Denver Broncos: Grading the first-round selection of Patrick Surtain II

Denver Broncos, Seth Williams, Pat Surtain II. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]Iron Bowl Alabama Vs Auburn
Denver Broncos, Seth Williams, Pat Surtain II. [Staff Photo/Gary Cosby Jr.]Iron Bowl Alabama Vs Auburn /

The Denver Broncos used the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft to select Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II.

When the draft process started this offseason, most every mock  draft had the Broncos taking a cornerback, which at the time was a prime team need. Many of those mocks had Surtain in that spot.

But when the Broncos added Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller through free agency, the belief was that the team would go in another direction with the quarterback position being the most talked about, even after the team traded for Teddy Bridgewater.

The Broncos passed on both Justin Fields and Mac Jones, who were both still on the board, to select  Surtain. That move was also another extra vote of confidence for Drew Lock, at least for now.

Surtain comes from a championship program in Alabama and was rated by many as the best cornerback in this draft, though Jaycee Horn was actually selected ahead of him by the Carolina Panthers.

It’s not that this pick didn’t make any sense. Though the Broncos did sign Darby and Fuller, they were both given just one-year contracts, so cornerback could have been a need again next year. George Paton obviously buys into the idea that you can never have too many corners.

However, on the board at the time was Micah Parsons who in my opinion, was the best defensive player in this draft, potential character issues and all. He should have been the pick, but Paton obviously had Surtain higher on his board.

What grade does this pick get?

Surtain possesses ideal size and displays good ball skills as well as being a good tackler. He is a physical cornerback with good straight-line speed.

Like the wide receiver position last year, the Broncos have pulled in multiple players to address their biggest positional weakness, and the cornerback position now has terrific potential.

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Still, the grade has to come down a little because Parsons would have been the better pick and if it were me, there is simply no way I would have passed on him. That said, the Broncos and the team’s fans should be happy with Surtain, whose father was also a professional cornerback who made three straight Pro Bowls.

Grade: B