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Broncos HC Reveals What Makes CB Patrick Surtain II Special

The Denver Broncos have a burgeoning star on their hands.

When the Denver Broncos sign star cornerback Patrick Surtain II to a lucrative contract extension sometime in the not-too-distant future, he'll have enough to buy himself a nice little island.

The 22-year-old Surtain is building his own NFL island anyway. As he consistently repels all attempts to penetrate his increasingly impenetrable defensive walls, his burgeoning shutdown reputation only grows.

In only Year 2 of his career, Surtain's lockdown performances are seeing him ascend rather spectacularly into pretty rarefied air. On primetime Sunday Night Football, the Broncos' No. 1 cornerback was targeted a total of six times, but he gave up zero catches to the San Francisco 49ers' talented group of receivers.

Having a bonafide shutdown corner is football nirvana for Broncos head coach Nathaniel Hackett. The ability to take away half of the field is almost unfathomable in the modern pass-obsessed NFL, where the dice is loaded against cornerbacks and defenders.

Hackett is fairly new to NFL head-coaching circles, but he knows that if he had to face Surtain, he certainly wouldn't be targeting him in coverage.

“I probably wouldn’t throw his way either,” Hackett declared on Monday. “First and foremost, as a person, this guy is special. I think that is what makes him such a great player up to this point. He’s just going to continue to get better. Just his natural athletic ability, his ability to not panic is huge. When you take this amazing athlete, you take this guy that’s so humble, a guy that wants to be coached, wants to be great, that’s when you see him continually grow and get better.”

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History has seen many self-proclaimed shutdown corners write checks with their mouths that they could never cash. Trash talking, flashy declarations, and shameless self-publicity have always been part of the cornerback milieu.

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Hackett’s recent observations of Surtain’s personality are pretty astute. Surtain's more humble nature and solid family grounding find him much more interested in doing his job than building himself a brand.

“You just have to—it’s all about [having] confidence, stepping in, making plays, and doing what’s best for the defense,” Surtain said. “The coaches [are] putting me in the best position possible for me to have that game yesterday and play to the best of my ability. It all around goes to your preparation, your film study, and getting your confidence going throughout the game. I think that’s what leads to it.”

The hard-wired burning desire to study his opponents undoubtedly sets Surtain up for sustained performance levels. Make no bones about it; every new week will present a distinct challenge, especially as a parade of elite receivers try their best to ambush him.

That just comes with the territory of being an elite corner, at least as far as Surtain is concerned. So moving forward, it's all about wiping the slate clean and resetting his radar on the next top receiver who appears on the Broncos' schedule.

“I embrace it a lot, going against premier receivers like that week in and week out. You just expect that, especially coming from our division," Surtain said. "We’re facing top receivers each and every week, so you just have to come out and do what you have to do. Going against a receiver like that, a top receiver, we just have to—it comes down to film study and your preparation throughout the week. You can only control what you can control going forward. It’s going to be a good battle and [I’m] looking forward to it.”

Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.

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