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Pat Surtain: ‘I’ll always have a chip on my shoulder’

Denver’s first draft pick of 2021 met with the press to talk about Rookie Mini Camp and how he plans to prove himself over and over again.

NFL: NFL Draft Pool Photo-USA TODAY Sports

Patrick Surtain II and head coach Vic Fangio sounded pretty confident about the upcoming season following Saturday’s rookie mini camp session.

“We just had a walkthrough out there, and I was impressed with what the guys were able to learn during the meetings that we had with them last night and this morning,” Fangio recounted about day one. “They did a good job.”

The coach also talked about Surtain specifically, and revealed that he sees him possibly playing both inside and outside positions.

“If he’s capable of having positional flexibility, that helps us get our so-called best players on the field at the same time,” Fangio said, adding that Denver needs corner who can play inside.

“We won’t know until we put him in there,” Fanigo said. “He’s definitely a guy we want to teach the inside position to sometime quickly.”

Surtain said that right now he’s trying to get familiar with the defense and learn to be comfortable playing where needed.

“What I try to do—I’m trying to learn the whole defense right now,” Surtain said. “I’m trying to see what the safeties do, and what the nickels and corners do, so when I’m on the field, I’m confident and I’ll know everybody’s roles.”

The rookie is hoping to “lead by example” among his circle during camp.

“I’m trying to be a figure that all the rookies can look at,” he said. “Just going through every drill as fast as I can and working hard through it.”

Surtain has talked to some of the “old heads” as he referred to them - veterans like Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson - to get a feel for the defense. He also mentioned defensive backs coach Christian Parker.

“Coach ‘CP’ is a good dude,” Surtain said. “He is very fundamental out there. He always wants to see you at your best, and he is going to critique you on what is right from wrong.”

As he finds his place in Denver’s secondary, Surtain’s experiencing plenty of excitement in the realization that his professional career is officially starting.

“It’s always been a dream of mine to be on this stage in the NFL. Now the opportunity is here, and I am forever grateful to be in the moment,” Surtain said, noting that it’s an exciting feeling when he looks at what he’s done and how long it’s taken for him to get here.

Now that he’s at Mile High, the CFP champion will need to adjust to playing at new heights - literally. Having played in Alabama throughout college, he has definitely noticed a difference while practicing in Denver.

“I’m still feeling it for sure,” he laughed.

Just like at Alabama, the cornerback will be sporting the No. 2 jersey, just as he did with the Crimson Tide, and said it’s pretty cool to get back to that ritual.

Despite the hype around Denver’s 2021 rookie class, Surtain is aware that some fans are disappointed that the Broncos picked a corner at ninth instead of a quarterback. He chooses not to focus on that and instead harness his energies into the game.

“I try to cancel out all that noise,” the cornerback explained, “I just have to go out there and compete and make them think wrong.”

Surtain shouldn’t have a problem proving any doubters wrong. He proudly wears a chip on his shoulder when it comes to competition.

“You have to go out and prove yourself again,” he insisted, “I still have the same chip on my shoulder as I did coming in as a freshman in high school and as a freshman in college. It’ll always be that same chip on my shoulder.”