Next Gen Stats points to more evidence Broncos drafted elite athletes in 2021

Patrick Surtain II in the Rose Bowl. Credit: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports.
Patrick Surtain II in the Rose Bowl. Credit: Kevin Jairaj, USA TODAY Sports.

George Paton has a style of player he goes after in the draft, and that can be summed up in one word: Athletic.

OK, sure, every player in the NFL is an athlete. But we’re talking the cream of the crop here.

To kick it off, Patrick Surtain II was given a 97 athleticism score by Next Gen Stats, with the best possible grade being 100. That combines his lightning-fast 40-yard dash time (4.41 seconds) and other measurables like his vertical (39″) and broad jump (10’11”).

As you can see, they add the athleticism score to his stellar production score (87) to give Surtain an instant grade of 96 overall. Players like that, who many experts believe to be a perennial Pro Bowler, are how championship teams are built.

And that production score of 87 was tied with Eric Stokes as the highest of cornerbacks in this year’s class, and it puts both of them with some incredible, Hall of Fame level talents.

While Surtain should be a great player for many years into the future, the next couple of years are less certain for linebacker Baron Browning. However, Next Gen Stats — among others — love the athleticism the former Ohio State Buckeye brings to the Mile High City.

Man, a 245-pound linebacker who can sky 40″ straight into the sky; that’s impressive.

Next Gen Stats also gave love to Javonte Williams, the running back out of Miami who was taken in the second round. Although, most of his 86 overall draft grade was due to his production rather than his athleticism score:

What’s great is the fact that the Broncos first draft class led by Paton was seen as incredibly athletic by RAS or their Relative Athletic Scores as well.

On their 0-10 scale, Browning and Quinn Meinerz were each given 9.98s relative to players at their position, while Surtain was given a 9.96. Continue down the list and Caden Sterns earned a 9.59, Williams earned an 8.79 and so on.

Simply, Paton went out and looked for the best athletes while also taking the best player available no matter the position. Considering Denver had a solid foundation of talent but also had multiple holes at many positions, it was a great strategy for both the short and long-term success of the team.

In the immediate term, guys like Surtain and Williams will have an opportunity to contribute immediately this year while the many other rookies could be able to do so down the line in a major way. And others will be performing on special teams in 2021 and beyond to help a completely inept group in terms of covering punts and kicks.

While the Chiefs and Raiders have focused on adding speed at almost every position, the Broncos have lagged behind. But now that Paton is in charge, it looks like Denver will be trying to keep up in the athleticism department, too.

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