Few first round draft picks in recent years produce little debate or regret among Denver Broncos fans. Von Miller in 2011 was the last before Pat Surtain. There could be some argument for Jerry Jeudy, but I think we all have seen fans debate the start to his career, but when it comes to Pat Surtain it is universal. The dude is elite.
Matt Bowen of ESPN does his annual review of stop defensive backs in the NFL and the second-year player easily slid into his “best coverage skills” back in 2022.
Best coverage skills
Pat Surtain II, Denver Broncos
Surtain has the ideal frame (6-foot-2, 202 pounds) and length for an NFL cornerback, and he displays the short-area acceleration to close on the ball. He moves like a smaller defender. Surtain is the best coverage defender I’ve watched on tape this season. He has all the tools and the matchup versatility to lock down big receivers, vertical targets or second-level options with east-west quickness. Surtain has 10 pass breakups and two interceptions. Simply put, he’s an All-Pro talent.
Surtain, 22, has exploded onto the NFL scene. He was a dominant force on the field from Day 1 and that is something you just don’t see. As a rookie, he logged four interceptions and 14 passes defensed to go along with a touchdown. This year, he didn’t get his first two interceptions until last week, but he has locked down every wide receiver he has covered.
In 30 career games, he has given up just a 54% completion rate on 168 targets. He has given up six total touchdowns in coverage to match his six interceptions. Surtain is about as lock down of a cornerback as you can find in the NFL. It’s nice to see him get the recognition he deserves.