Two surprising Denver Broncos players were team’s fastest in 2021

Denver Broncos, Pat Surtain II - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports
Denver Broncos, Pat Surtain II - Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports /
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Two surprising Denver Broncos players were the fastest on the team during the 2021 season according to NFL’s Next Gen Stats.

With some speedy players all over the roster, you might be surprised to learn which two players on the Denver Broncos were the fastest in 2021 according to NFL.com’s Next Gen Stats.

Improving team speed was one of the primary goals for general manager George Paton in his first year on the job in 2021.

We saw him accomplish that in a variety of different ways, but of course, one of the primary things we saw Paton do was prioritize players with outstanding athletic scores throughout free agency, the NFL Draft, in trades, and in waiver moves.

The (surprising) fastest Denver Broncos players in 2021

Next Gen Stats has a list of the top 20 plays last year in terms of top speed reached by a ball carrier.

The Broncos had two players on that list.

1. Pat Surtain (Week 12 vs. Chargers)

In Week 12 of the 2021 season, the Denver Broncos notched a nice home victory over the Los Angeles Chargers, and Pat Surtain II had arguably his best game as a pro.

That game involved one of the top three fastest plays of the entire 2021 NFL season for any ball carrier in the NFL.

Surtain reached a speed of 22.07 mph on his interception returned for a touchdown against the Los Angeles Chargers, which was just 0.06 mph off of the fastest play of the entire year for any ball carrier.

2. Melvin Gordon (Week 1 vs. Giants)

Melvin Gordon got himself on this list very early on in the 2021 NFL season and never left.

Although this play finished 16th/20 on the overall top 20 fastest plays list, it’s kind of crazy that Gordon landed on here in the first place.

Gordon is a big-bodied back whose game has always included some big plays but I wouldn’t say he’s known as a home run hitter from 70 yards out.

There are different ways you can score from 70 yards out as a 225-pound back and you might think it would include defensive backs falling down or Gordon breaking tackles, but this particular play against the Giants simply involves Gordon blowing by everyone.

Neither Gordon nor Pat Surtain II is really known for elite track speed. They both came into the NFL with solid 40-yard dash times but these individual plays in the 2021 season show that there’s a lot more speed to these guys’ games than meets the eye.