Only a few weeks ago the majority of mock drafts had the Denver Broncos selecting a cornerback with the ninth overall pick. Now, with George Paton at the helm, that position group looks very strong.

Even so, Kyle Fuller is on a one-year deal, Bryce Callahan has had a laundry list of injuries and Michael Ojemudia had a very up-and-down rookie campaign. On the surface, this cornerback group looks well on their way to being elite, but beyond this year there will be a number of unanswered questions.

A player like Patrick Surtain ll may be exactly the player Denver needs to fill any impending holes to ensure they have a really solid secondary for years to come.


As the son of an NFL cornerback, Patrick Surtain ll has football in his DNA. Even from a young age the cornerback impressed with his play and athleticism. He left high school as a five-star recruit and went on to have a very impressive career with Nick Saban at the University of Alabama where he started for three years.

His approach to every play is measured and he doesn’t get too high or too low at any point during a game. Fundamentally, he is as polished as you will see entering the NFL Draft process highlighted by great footwork.

Surtain ll is considered one of the best, if not the best man-cover cornerback in the entire draft. He is fantastic in space and has no problem with physical receivers. His length and strength allow him to mix it up throughout routes and to stick to pass-catchers like glue.

The ability to flip his hips and pace his opponent is outstanding and he is a fluid mover. He has the ability to change his direction with ease and he does a nice job of getting his head back around to find and attack the football in the air.


Occasionally, Surtain ll was slow to react off of the snap, which caused him to get beat for significant gains, and every so often he could be found getting beat deep down the field.

From a testing standpoint, Surtain ll appears plenty fast enough to cover receivers down the field but his long-speed will be tested at the NFL level and is somewhat of a concern.

Physicality is a strength of his game, especially as a tackler, but he has some work to do to compete with larger and more bruising wide receivers at the next level.

As a man-to-man defender, he is elite but there is a question as to how effective he will be in zone schemes and off-man coverage at the next level. That’s especially concerning to a team like the Broncos and a coach like Vic Fangio who rely heavily on those forms of coverage where Surtain struggles


Given the state of Denver’s secondary as it is composed now, the Broncos can probably wait on taking a cornerback and feel confident they can address this need next offseason or even through the draft next year.

With that in mind, Surtain is a top ten talent in this NFL Draft class and deserves to be picked in that range. If he is available at nine and Denver selects him, they can feel confident that they are getting an elite-level talent and a possible Pro-bowler down the road even if there are concerns with his fit in Denver’s scheme.

Draft Projection: Top 15

MHS Big Board Ranking: 12th overall (2nd among CBs)