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Scouting Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II

The Denver Broncos got a good one with their 9th overall selection in Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II.

2021 NFL Draft Photo by Gregory Shamus/Getty Images

The Denver Broncos selected Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II with their 9th overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. He’s a 6’2”, 208lb cornerback who was considered one of the top cornerbacks in the draft. Surtain II is ranked as the top cornerback in the draft according to The Athletic’s Dane Brugler and his 10th overall prospect in the entire draft.

Surtain played a total of three seasons at Alabama and turned into one of the best cornerback’s in the country during that span. During his three seasons with the Crimson Tide, Surtain totaled 116 tackles, 6 tackles for a loss, 4 interceptions, 1 defensive touchdown, 24 pass deflections, and 4 forced fumbles. This past season, Surtain II totaled 37 tackles, 3.5 tackles for a loss, 1 interception, 9 pass deflections, and 1 defensive touchdown.

Accolades

(Via: rolltide.com)

  • First Team Preseason All-America recognition from ESPN.com
  • Second-team honoree by the AP, TSN, USA Today and Walter Camp
  • Earned a spot on the Jim Thorpe Award Watch List, an honor presented to the nation’s top defensive back
  • Named to the Bednarik Award Watch List and also selected to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy Watch List
  • Named the Defensive Most Valuable Player of the Rose Bowl
  • Garnered defensive player of the week honors from the Alabama coaching staff for his play against Ole Miss, Georgia, Mississippi State, Auburn, and LSU

Patrick Surtain II

Cornerback, Junior, Alabama
Height: 6’2 | Weight: 208lbs | 40-time: 4.41 seconds
Arm Length: 32 1/2” | Hands: 10”
Vertical Jump: 39” | Broad Jump: 10’ 11”| Bench Press: 18 reps

Film Room

Scouting Report

Strengths

  • Bloodlines - His father was a Pro Bowl cornerback with the Dolphins
  • Has prototypical size and athleticism you look for in a number one corner
  • Tall, long arms, and athletic frame
  • 38 career starts at Alabama against top SEC talent
  • No injury or character corners
  • Maturity, character, and work ethic are praised
  • Technically sound player with great instincts
  • Scheme diverse corner who can do whatever is asked from him
  • Can play inside and outside in a defense
  • Allowed only four touchdowns and 46.1% completions in 41 career games (via Dane Brugler)
  • Intelligent player who reads and reacts well to what the offense is doing
  • Can get the ball at its highest point
  • Has good ball skills
  • Willing run defender
  • Good press skills
  • Limits YAC and has sticky coverage
  • Has all the skills, athletic makeup, character, and talents to be a true shutdown cornerback

Weakness

  • Not a super “twitchy” athlete who doesn’t have explosive speed
  • While he’s a big corner, his play strength could be better
  • Can be a little handsy at times

What others are saying about Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II

The Athletic’s Dane Brugler via his draft guide

A three-year starter at Alabama, Surtain lined up at right cornerback in head coach Nick Saban’s man-heavy scheme, playing mostly press-man and off-man while also seeing reps at the “Star” nickel position. As the son of a Pro Bowl cornerback and coach, he was groomed to play defensive back at a high level and didn’t shrink in the SEC, allowing only four touchdowns and 46.1% completions in 41 career games. With his movements, body range and ball skills, Surtain plays sticky coverage and doesn’t panic downfield, consistently staying balanced and in phase. While he is athletic and false steps are infrequent, he lacks suddenness in his movements, giving explosive receivers a chance to separate early. Overall, Surtain lacks elite play strength and twitch for the position, but he is smooth, instinctive and the game happens slower for him than most cornerbacks. He projects as an NFL starting-level press-man corner with Pro Bowl potential.

NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein (source)

Lockdown, press-man cornerback with elite size, length, and talent to match up with any brand of receiver from any place on the field. He was a five-star recruit coming in and he consistently competed for championships in high school and college. Surtain possesses elite physical and athletic traits with the rare combination of length and short-area quickness that allows him to play on a press-man island and phase routes on all three levels. He plays to his length with plus technique and cover skills that make winning downfield a very challenging proposition. He was beaten in true man-to-man battles for 29-plus yards just five times during his career. His ability to stay connected to the route allows him to shut down yards after catch very quickly as a strong, wrap-up tackler. Run support goes in the “strengths” column, as well. He’s been well-schooled at home and at Alabama. He’s wired like a future All-Pro cornerback.

NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah who had Surtain II ranked as his 9th overall prospect

Surtain has an ideal blend of size, speed and ball skills. He’s at his best in press coverage. He doesn’t consistently re-route receivers, but he avoids false steps and has plenty of speed to stay on top versus the vertical passing game. He will struggle at times versus smaller/quicker pass catchers. Like most big corners, he lacks top-flight short-area quickness. He has good eyes from off coverage, though. He identifies route combinations and makes aggressive plays on the ball. He is tough to fill versus the run and he’s a reliable tackler in the open field. Overall, Surtain is a very similar prospect to Marlon Humphrey when he was coming out of Alabama. I envision similar success for Surtain at the next level.

Mock Draftable Chart

Patrick Surtain II RAS

How Patrick Surtain II fits with the Denver Broncos

He’s the Broncos' future number one corner. Now, I am not sure where he fits in the short-term, but it shouldn’t take him long to crack the starting roster. Someway, somehow he’ll see playing time.

Right now, you have Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby, and Bryce Callahan penciled in as your starters, but Surtain could potentially be used as the Broncos' answer to the tight ends in the AFC West.

Travis Kelce and Darren Waller are in the division and give the Broncos issues every single time. Surtain has the size, athleticism, coverage ability, and skills to potentially be someone they can use to cover these guys. This and other matchup roles is how I see Surtain II being used early on before eventually taking over as a starting cornerback.