As a whole, the Denver Broncos’ 2021 NFL Draft class had unreal rookie campaigns that were wildly productive.
However, even if you don’t analyze the class as a whole, and instead choose to focus on the individual performances of these rookies, the Broncos still rank near the top of the NFL.
In a recent article, Pro Football Focus looked at the top 25 rookie performances from the season, and the Broncos had two different rookies make the list. That’s pretty impressive considering that several teams were left with zero entries.
The first Bronco to make the list was Javonte Williams, who rounded the top 25 out at the No. 25 spot.
“Williams is an angry runner,” PFF analyst Anthony Treash wrote. “His 0.31 missed tackles forced per attempt as a rookie — the highest in the NFL — backs that up. While running back isn’t an overly valuable position, Williams made a substantial mark among his counterparts in Year 1 in the NFL by ranking 13th at the position in PFF WAR generated.”
In fact, that missed tackle rate wasn’t just the best in the NFL this season. It’s tied for the highest rate they’ve recorded (alongside Marshawn Lynch and Nick Chubb) over the last five seasons.
The second Bronco to make the list was Patrick Surtain II at the No. 16, after emerging as a legitimate shutdown cornerback as a rookie.
“Making the jump from college to the NFL is tough for cornerbacks,” Treash wrote. Just ask Atlanta Falcons cornerback A.J. Terrell, who went from allowing 901 yards as a rookie in 2020 to allowing just 200 yards in 2021.”
Those struggles didn’t affect Surtain however.
“Surtain was seemingly unaffected by the dreaded learning curve, though,” Treash continued. “After a few poorly graded games in the first quarter of the season, the Bama product has stepped up and been a legitimate CB1 for Denver. Since Week 7, he is one of the 25 highest-graded players at the position and has allowed more than 60 yards in coverage just once this season. He leads the rookie class in pass breakups plus interceptions with 12.”
The future is certainly bright in Denver.