Denver Broncos 2021 schedule: Predicting where rookies break out
By Brett Chaves
Patrick Surtain II – Week 10 vs. Philadelphia Eagles
It’s no surprise that Patrick Surtain was drafted to be the Denver Broncos’ next star cornerback. The son of Patrick Surtain Sr, the University of Alabama prospect was almost the consensus best corner in the 2021 NFL Draft, though obviously at least the Carolina Panthers liked Jaycee Horn better. His fundamentals and football IQ give him potential to be a lethal playmaker in Denver.
While he has the ability to be great off the bat, there’s a strong possibility Coach Fangio will give opt to slowly transition him into the defense. He also has plenty of backup in newly-signed teammates Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby, as well as Bryce Callahan and Michael Ojemudia.
A great time to watch for Surtain to really shine is week 10. Denver is back home against the questionable Philadelphia Eagles, and they will look to take advantage of their transitioning offense.
Here’s where Surtain comes into play.
The Eagles recently drafted their future number one receiver in DeVonta Smith. With Philadelphia’s depth chart being spread thin at wide receiver, it is almost inevitable that Smith will get looks as the number one option. If Denver can put themselves in a good position going into the second half, it would not be surprising to see Vic Fangio pair Surtain with his old teammate.
Looking at the matchup one-on-one, Surtain seems to have a fair advantage. One of his biggest weaknesses during the evaluation process was goal-line defense. Surtain struggled to defend physical receivers at the goal line, resulting in easily-preventable touchdowns being scored.
DeVonta Smith is not a physical receiver. Coming in at only 6’1″, 175 pounds, Surtain should be plenty capable of defending him at the goal line.
Surtain is also strong at preventing comebacks off of the snap. His footwork and agility allow him to pounce on the ball, preventing a second and potentially third move by the receiver. This could be trouble for Smith, who relies on the second and third move to get open down the stretch.
Overall, Surtain could see plenty of playing time and success if he’s used against the Eagles.