The NFL Draft is the ultimate gamble. Coaches, scouts, and player personnel representatives can search every nook and cranny to find out about a prospect, watch every second of tape there is, but you truly don’t know how things are going to pan out once that player hits the grind of the National Football League.
However, when the Denver Broncos selected standout Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II at the 9th overall selection in the 2021—they might have made the easiest pick they ever could have had. He was as close to as sure-fire bet as there could ever be. He excelled in high school and college at top programs. He was coached and mentored by his father, who just so happened to be one of the best cornerbacks in the league during his era.
And to date, he has certainly solidified himself as the best player on the Broncos defense. This year was no exception, and it was an easy decision to make.
Most Valuable Player on Defense — Patrick Surtain II
Looking back, it’s still odd to me that there were quite a few fans who were unhappy with the pick and felt it wasn’t the right decision. Three years later, the man we call PS2 has solidified his status as one of the game’s best cornerbacks. He earned All-Pro honors in 2022 and back-to-back Pro Bowl honors the last two seasons.
There are some who might say he had a down year because of his All-Pro snub (the NFLPA did give him that honor), but the 2023 tape doesn’t lie. For virtually all of the season, he erased his side of the field. His worst performance came against the Miami Dolphin’s in Denver’s unforgettable meltdown earlier in the season. But outside of that, he excelled in man, off-man and zone coverages throughout the year. When you have a player who can shutdown one entire side of the field and excel in any type of coverage—you know you have a great player.
Every team in the league wishes they had a player like him, but thankfully there is only one, and he is a Denver Bronco.
PS2 Stats VS #1 Receivers.— jt (@sfc_bbt7) January 12, 2024
Gave up 30+ yards once. pic.twitter.com/S4YBJpyA0F
Just imagine what he would be capable of with an improved and dynamic defensive front seven that can get to the quarterback without having to blitz so much. Given the Broncos’ issues in the defensive trenches, Surtain II’s performance is even more impressive. Trailing opposing wide receivers and shutting them down without a consistent pass rush isn’t an easy job. And truth be told, there are a lot of top cornerbacks in the league who would struggle if they were in the same position.
The Broncos have had their fair share of top-tier cornerbacks in the year. Most notably, Champ Bailey, who went on to carve out a Hall of Fame career and cement himself as one of the greatest to ever play the game despite never winning a Super Bowl in his historic career. Here is to hoping the Broncos do the right thing, extend Patrick Surtain II and give him the opportunity to hoist a Lombardi Trophy for the Mile High City.
Excellence doesn’t come around often in the National Football League, but in three seasons PS2 has certainly showed all of us in Broncos Country what that is.