Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
And with the 9th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos select … Mac Jones! LOL, yeah, no, they wouldn’t be that dumb would they … would they? I got to think that with QB-thirst-trap John Elway out of the GM position, the Broncos just might do the right thing at the back-end of the Top 10 and draft the best defensive player in this class – Patrick Surtain II.
Let’s start off this little soiree by looking at what we know about the 2021-2022 Broncos:
- Vic Fangio continues to be their head coach. This is a Belichick-lite (I mean veryyyy lite) Head Coach, who seems to be able to pick up random guys on the street and put together a good defense.
- Greenhorn GM George Patton is heading the first draft class in what feels like forever that Elway wasn’t the sole decision maker. He really has 1 option here though: don’t be an idiot. There are a ton of ways he can go, and as with all GM’s they want to get “their guy” at QB. But at the end of the day, no one is going to troll Patton with this pick. K.I.S.S. – get the best guy on the board and move onto the next pick.
- The Broncos did sign starter-ish level CB’s in Free Agency - Kyle Fuller (1 year deal) and Ronald Darby (3 year deal). However, their CB cupboard was pretty barren going into FA, and they could look at this as an option to play more nickel with Darby in the slot. Signing those two in FA should not preclude them from drafting arguably the best defensive player in this class; and having 3 starting-level CB’s is where you want to be (looking at you Eagles ☹).
- The Broncos play a healthy mix of man and zone, which will benefit Surtain early-on in his career on account of his High Football IQ; he will not be lost out there understanding what the offense is throwing at him (literally), and he is the kind of player that excelled at the in-game switch between man and zone schemes.
- The Draft Pundits are throwing around the Broncos need for a QB, but you aren’t really hearing it from them. They believe that Lock is the guy (for now) and have surrounded him with a lot of talent to succeed. If he doesn’t, well they aren’t any worse off with this defensive cornerstone going into next year gung-ho about a QB in the first.
Now class, we have the variables to the equation spelled out. Let’s dig deeper on the answer to the Broncos first round selection, shall we?
Patrick Surtain II is your prototypical, 6’2 208lb CB who tested in the 93rd percentile (adjusted) SPARQ athleticism at Alabama’s Pro Day. Fresh off a first-team All-SEC defensive nod, 2021 Rose Bowl Defensive MVP, and (unanimous) first team All-American campaign, frosted with a National Championship, he is ready for Sundays this Fall. Even with every accolade and accomplishment listed out above, he still seems to be flying under the radar when talking about this class, lauded for its offensive superstars. I will also add that he possesses something that NFL GM’s love to glorify: NFL Bloodlines. Patrick Surtain was a 10-year pro with 3 Pro Bowls, a first and second team All Pro’s under his belt. Surtain II grew up in NFL locker rooms, and his comfortability with the game and sustained excellence shows it.
As a junior on the Championship Alabama squad, Surtain II had 32 tackles (18 solo), 1 fumble recovery, 10 passes defended, and 1 interception (for a pick 6). Over his 3-year career for the Crimson Tide, he had 111 tackles (78 solo), 4 forced fumbles, 2 fumble recoveries, 25 passes defended, and 4 interceptions. Now, I am sure you are all saying “Professor, why is that all so impressive? I mean, those numbers don’t seem to jump off the page for a 3-year starter when paired with the ‘best defensive player in this draft’ moniker you keep spouting off about.” Well well, look who is getting to the analysis portion of this lesson ahead of everyone else! Let me just throw in what I should have started with…this past season Surtain II only allowed 21 completions for a combined 273 yards on a total of 48 targets. Average that out and you see predominantly SEC and National Title contender QB’s averaged 13 yards on 43.75% passing against him (including the likes of Justin Fields and Kyle Trask). When looking at 13 yards per catch it may seem like a lot, but in the age of the passing offense the ability to allow under well under 50% catch rate and account for Alabama being up in just about every game is incredibly impressive (all while playing against the best teams in the country most weekends).
When looking at college DB’s, the one thing I have always kept to heart is the old adage “the less you hear about a defensive back the better”. Opposing Offensive Coordinators will do whatever they can to game-plan their QB to throw away from lock-down corners; I have found this is true for college even more so than the NFL. Surtain II’s biggest statistical year was probably his sophomore campaign, when he played opposite Trevon Diggs (current NFL starter for some over-hyped NFL team). Even then, he balled out. He is as committed to the run game as he is in coverage, which is something to say when playing in the SEC-West. It is also something to be said that he managed this level of success going up against the likes of Justin Jefferson, Ja’Marr Chase, George Pickens, Elijah Moore, Jhamon Ausbon, and Van Jefferson over the last two years (definitely missing more, but these are all NFL caliber WR’s).
In the end, whether you like this pick or not for the Broncos, it really comes down to who else is available at this point in the draft. There are really 4 other prospects that make sense from GM George Patton’s perspective at 9: Rashawn Slater (OT, Northwestern), Jaycee Horn (CB, South Carolina), Mac Jones (QB, Alabama), and Micah Parsons (LB, Penn State). I am taking Caleb Farley (CB, VT)out of the running since he recently had a discectomy procedure on his back (his second back surgery to date), and although I think he could be great the risk of drafting someone with very recent and problematic injuries is too rich for a Top 10 pick. Now, you have all been so kind to keep reading to this point (or if you decided to skip everything and just go to the polls at the bottom, you suck. But you’ll never read this so now I just look stupid for breaking the 4th wall here. Who am I, Deadpool?). Whichever route you took, I will make sure I go lightening round here for why the other 4 prospects won’t fit the bill for the Broncos:
Rashawn Slater – Possible pick in the early half of the first round, and seemingly the consensus #2 OT behind Sewell, Slater is kind of a tweener for OT (arms measured 33” at his Pro Day). We all know that the best players play, but with the unknown if he can measure up against NFL pass rushers or is better slated (pun intended) for the inside, it’s a bit too high at #9 for me. There are a number of solid options on Days 2 and 3 for a Bronco’s offensive line that is lacking depth.
Jaycee Horn – Probably my #3 DB in this draft class (I love Moehrig as #2 behind Surtain II), Horn is in a similar boat to Surtain II in showing that he can hang with the big boys of the SEC (also has NFL pedigree, dad is WR Joe Horn). Does best when lined up in man but lacks the refined technique beyond 5 yards (lot of DPI’s coming for him year 1) and has not shown the same commitment to run support as Surtain II through his collegiate career.
Mac Jones – I don’t know if I really need to explain myself too much here, but seriously how is Mac Jones getting all this hype in the Top 10? Hell, I just saw him going 3 to SF in CBS’ mock draft round-up. Just…please stop making this a thing everyone. He’s a National Champion and will have a fine career I am sure, but just screams “Poor Man’s Daniel Jones” to me. The Broncos really need to get away from the QB train this year unless Fields falls into their laps; just commit to seeing what Lock can do this year before going back to the well.
Micah Parsons – On the field: chess piece for a D-Coordinator. Reminds me of Clemson’s Isaiah Simmons, who has already shown to be a stud for the Cardinals.
Off the field: YIKES. Allegations of bullying and sexual harassment from a former teammate? Multiple situations where social media got the best of him? Being a first-round rookie is hard enough with the pressure to succeed on the field, but I get the feeling a lot of teams are going to pass on Parsons this early just to get out of the PR circus that will be the introductory press conference. Add Vic Fangio being a no-nonsense coach and that will be enough for them to push past drafting Parsons at #9.
Hopefully the above managed to sway you into realizing just how special Patrick Surtain II is, why the other prospects here do not make as much sense, and the likelihood of him becoming the cornerstone of any defense in the NFL is just about a certainty. He is the type of large, physical cornerback the NFL covets. He has the physicality to battle opponents at the line of scrimmage, the agility and speed to stay with almost any receiver (4.42 on his unofficial 40 at Bama’s Pro Day), and the football IQ and skillset to match up with the best WR’s in the league. I have heard a number of Draft experts weigh in on his playing style, measurables, and testing thus far and his closest comp to date is Jalen Ramsey. Now, I am not saying he is a sure-fire thing to be the best CB in the NFL by year 2-3, but he has proven since his High School play (#1 CB recruit in the country) that he should be in any conversation when talking about the best defenders at every level he has played. In the end, I hope I am wrong, and he somehow makes it to #12 for our woe-begotten but beloved Eagles. I just can’t see him making it past the Broncos if his name is up there.
Thank you again class for sitting through this lecture and remember that your essays on “Do we really think Dak Prescott was worth all of Jerry Jones’ Oil Money?” is due next Thursday. Have a good day, and make sure to hit me up of Rate My Professor!
Check out the below highlight video if that’s what you’re about:
Do you approve of this pick?
This poll is closed
2021 BGN Mock Draft Order
1) Jaguars (Phoenix X Minimus): QB Trevor Lawrence
2) Jets (eagles.north.of.the.border): QB Zach Wilson
3) 49ers (I Need a Username): QB Trey Lance
4) Falcons (chewy wellington): OT Penei Sewell
5) Bengals (Dr_Horrible): WR Ja’Marr Chase
6) Dolphins (20Safety_Hazard): TE Kyle Pitts
7) Lions (drc242): WR DeVonta Smith
8) Panthers (wildcatlh): QB Justin Fields
9) Broncos (ItownBallers22): CB Patrick Surtain II
10) Cowboys (Kephas):
11) Giants (Billmington):
12) Eagles (ablesser88):
13) Chargers (Georgia_eagle):
14) Vikings (Philliesandthebees):
15) Patriots (SakPrescott):
16) Cardinals (Carson Wentzs ACL):
17) Raiders (dshelton5):
18) Dolphins (J. Wil):
19) Football Team (Negadelphia Norm):
20) Bears (Happy24):
21) Colts (CSsdV):
22) Titans (Friendly Neighborhood Philly Fan):
23) Jets (Asap Stocky):
24) Steelers (Gregnado):
25) Jaguars (“Snax”):
26) Browns (gerouxman1956):
27) Ravens (Brendanekstrom):
28) Saints (grantspectations):
29) Packers (Philly_Philly):
30) Bills (doublefry):
31) Chiefs (Leo Bedio):
32) Buccaneers (phuckdallas):
Now it’s time for you to vote for who YOU think should be selected in the 2021 BGN Community Consensus Mock Draft.
Who should the Denver Broncos draft at No. 9?
This poll is closed
CB Patrick Surtain II
QB Trey Lance
QB Mac Jones
LB Micah Parsons
CB Jaycee Horn
1) Jaguars: QB Trevor Lawrence
2) Jets: QB Zach Wilson:
3) 49ers: QB Justin Fields
4) Falcons: OT Penei Sewell
5) Bengals: WR Ja’Marr Chase
6) Dolphins: TE Kyle Pitts
7) Lions: WR DeVonta Smith
8) Panthers: OT Rashawn Slater