The Denver Broncos and general manager George Paton took a sizable gamble in the 2021 NFL Draft, when they opted to pass on the draft’s array of talented quarterbacks, and instead selected cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
Now, almost a year removed from that decision, Broncos Country has to be thrilled with the outcome.
The quarterback conundrum has been solved by adding Russell Wilson, an established superstar at the position, while Surtain just had one of the most impressive seasons for a rookie cornerback in recent memory.
Surtain impressed more than just Broncos fans with his remarkable level of play considering his lack of experience, as Richard Sherman heaped praise on the young cornerback on a recent episode of the Richard Sherman Podcast.
During a conversation about the 2022 draft’s cornerbacks and Sherman’s top cornerback in the class, Ahmad ‘Sauce’ Gardner, Sherman made it clear that he had even more belief in Surtain during last year’s draft process.
“I guess I was higher on Surtain [than I am on Gardner],” Sherman said. “If Jaycee Horn and Surtain were in this draft, they would have a chance to go one and two in this draft. Like they would be the top prospects, I believe, in this draft.”
That’s lofty praise but it adds up upon studying the 2022 class. The top-end talent in this year’s draft is lesser than the top-end talent in most draft classes.
Not only that, but having a player with the talent to have been the No. 1 overall selection in this year’s class lessens the blow of Denver trading away their first-rounder. According to Sherman, they got a better prospect last year than they could have found at any position in this class.
Sherman also discussed how Surtain’s SEC background helped solidify his status as a draft prospect.
“The thing I like more about Surtain [than Gardner] is just the competition level,” Sherman said. “Surtain was doing it against SEC competition, against Justin Jefferson, against Ja’Marr Chase, against Georgia, against Florida, against quality opponents. So, you really got to see, week-in and week-out, whether it’s real.”
The former Legion of Boom member’s praise for Surtain didn’t stop there though. He also discussed how Surtain’s rookie year wasn’t just impressive for a rookie, but that it even wowed a seasoned veteran like Sherman.
“I really love to watch, even as a pro, Patrick Surtain’s tape and Jaycee [Horn], before he got injured,” Sherman said. “Surtain’s tape is ‘teach tape’ and the fact that he’s a rookie. Like, I mean you can literally make technique teach tape from his game tape; his press [coverage], his off [coverage], and it’s week-in, week-out and he’s not intimidated. It didn’t seem like he was intimidated by anything, and that’s what I love. Nothing is too big for him”
With such a remarkable young talent just beginning to realize his potential, Broncos Country is going to love watching Surtain for a long, long time.