Broncos Country has high hopes for the team's 2021 draft class and those expectations have only been boosted by strong rookie performances during two lopsided preseason wins on the road. The Denver Broncos' first-round cornerback Patrick Surtain II has been one of the new faces who's been hard to ignore, especially after his flashy pick-six vs. Minnesota showcase his game-changing capabilities.
Some have even dared to suggest that Surtain could be the second coming of Broncos' Hall-of-Famer Champ Bailey. The wisdom of making such lofty comparisons this early is a questionable proposition because, after all, Surtain has yet to suit up in a real NFL game.
However, Bailey isn't throwing any cold water on the growing hype surrounding Surtain, and if anything, only fueled it with his recent remarks.
“People are like, ‘Oh, he reminds me of Champ!’ ” Bailey told the team website this week. “I’m like, ‘Hell, he reminds me of me, too.’ “
The parallels are plain to see because the same silky-smooth backpedal, flexible hips, and click-and-close ability to break on the ball immediately stand out. Bailey is always worth listening to if you want to learn more about the art of locking down the NFL's best pass-catchers. Thus, when he says Surtain is NFL-ready, fans had best sit up in their seats.
“It’s just the playmaking ability, the confidence,” Bailey said. “It’s a lot of intangibles that go with playing the position. You’ve got to relish being out there by yourself and being up against the best and baddest receivers in the game. It’s a grown man’s job, and if you’re not ready as a rookie, you won’t play. He looks like he is ready.”
The transition from the college to pro ranks has not been a bridge too far for Surtain, who has the added benefit of being able to draw on his father, a former NFL Pro-Bowl corner, for advice. The demands of a 17-game NFL season will be a major test for Surtain, despite him seemingly being extra polished as a rookie.
In Bailey's expert opinion, though, Surtain's 6-foot-2 physical prowess, mental strength, and preparation all set him up for success out of the box.
“He’s above and beyond one of the most prepared rookies I’ve seen – and that’s from a physical standpoint,” Bailey said. “I know from a mental standpoint, he’s getting all the tools he needs to be a great player… The sky’s the limit for this kid. If he stays healthy – oh my God, we got us a pick.”
Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.
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