While there is much attention on New York Jets quarterback Zach Wilson after throwing four interceptions in his first 10 attempts last week, the rookie spotlight for the Denver Broncos falls on cornerback Patrick Surtain II. Surtain got his first career interception off of Trevor Lawrence — the reigning first overall pick in this year's draft — last week and now faces the second overall pick.
However, the Jets have a solid group of wide receivers and they could test Surtain. Early on in Jacksonville's first drive last week, Surtain was targeted multiple times.
The play-calls and the receivers were able to exploit Surtain's tight hips to get separation and make a catch. The rookie corner adjusted to limit the negative impact which played a massive part in his interception.
With the types of receivers the Broncos face this week, Surtain has to be cautious not to get beat with the change-of-direction. As Ronald Darby is still injured, Surtain will start as the right corner spot, and the Jets like to move their receivers around.
Corey Davis and Elijah Moore play the outside more often, and they're about even with their snap counts on the left and right side. Davis should be a simpler matchup for Surtain to handle as a bigger receiver with decent speed and not the best change-of-direction. As a result, Surtain should be able to stick to his hip easier than he would with the other Jets' receivers.
The more concerning matchup is a fellow rookie in Elijah Moore, who has good speed and is rather shifty. Moore is a good route runner is smooth when changing direction which has been established as not a strong suit for Surtain.
The rookie corner will have to figure out how to limit the separation from changing direction and hang with Moore through his routes. The Broncos’ defense has gotten off to a slow start through two games, and they need that to change.
Part of the reason was the play of Surtain and Kyle Fuller at corner, and they both will be tested again. However, with matchups they are facing, the onus falls on both to hold up, especially the rookie making just his second career start.
Follow Erick on Twitter @ErickTrickel.
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