Various offseason mock drafts have projected the Denver Broncos to select Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II with the ninth overall pick in the NFL draft. Considered by many draftniks to be a premier defensive back in this year’s draft class, there’s little doubt that the 20-year-old playmaker will make it past the top-10 picks in the first round.
The 6-foot-2, 202-pound junior played in 40 games for the Crimson Tide and saw immediate action as a freshman in 2018 where he started 12 games. Surtain concluded his collegiate career with 38 consecutive starts and logged 116 tackles (82 solo), six tackles for a loss, 24 passes defensed, four interceptions, four forced fumbles, one fumble recovery, and scored one touchdown.
Surtain enters the draft as a first-team All-SEC defender and was named the Defensive MVP of the 2021 Rose Bowl.
The SEC Defensive Player of the Year is the son of ex-Miami Dolphins corner Patrick Surtain, Sr., who was drafted in the second round in 1998. Senior played seven seasons in Miami where he became a three-time Pro Bowler and two-time All-Pro before he was traded to the Kansas City Chiefs in 2005, where he went on to play four seasons.
On Tuesday, Senior. joined Nick and Cecil on 104.3 The FAN where he was asked about the key to defensive longevity at the cornerback position in the NFL.
“I think it’s just being consistent, honestly, and knowing what you’re doing,” Surtain told hosts Nick Ferguson and Cecil Lammey. “Taking care of your body and just being a pro at what you do. Come in every day and work. Don’t start any chaos in the building, just go about doing your job, man."
Surtain is currently the head coach of American Heritage High School where his teams have won three state championships. He also coached his son Surtain II, who went on to become a five-star recruit, as well as Georgia corner Tyson Campbell, in addition to numerous student-athletes that have entered NCAA. The proof is literally in the pudding in South Florida as Surtain’s football program is nationally recognized.
When asked about the experience of coaching his son in high school, Surtain offered up some unique insights into the prospect NFL teams are considering drafting. “
It’s been great. It actually started in little league," Senior told The FAN. "I coached him since he was nine years old and just to watch him mature into the player he is today, man, it’s been awesome. He started out as a running back, switched to DB and you could tell early that he had something special within him... He’s a student of the game and he wants to be great. His study habits, and the way he goes about it, even his coaches at Alabama said that he carries himself like a pro. He knew he wanted to get to this point one day, and he did all the hard work. Now he’s on the crest of achieving his dream which is playing in the National Football League.”
Surtain II is known for being a fierce tackler that doesn’t back down from competition. Just ask Minnesota Vikings Pro Bowl wideout Justin Jefferson, who lined up against Surtain II when Alabama and LSU squared off. Although Surtain II didn’t have his best game, he proved at 18 years old that he was fearless and up for the challenge.
Surtain II has a lengthy frame that allows him to recover against speed-driven receivers, and his utilization within multiple defensive schemes make him a sought-after prospect.
“He’s a technician at what he does, and you see it on the film and the film doesn’t lie,” Surtain Sr. told The FAN. “He has tremendous ball skills, comes up and tackles, he does it all. He understands zone concepts and he’s going to be a very smart player, a player who’s already a pro going into the league. Obviously, there’s some things that he has to work on as he’s not a finished product, to say the least but that’s what the coaches get paid the big bucks for in the league. The sky is the limit for him, and on top of all of that he’s a great kid. He doesn’t get in trouble and he knows his 'why', and he knows how to do the right things and that’s going to carry over to the next level.”
It’s his discipline and football acumen that distinguishes him from the pack, as Surtain II could thrive in both press-man and zone coverages. Although he projects as a boundary corner, another element of his game is highlighted on the perimeter against the run with his tackling and rare willingness to mix it up in the SEC run game, which has impressed NFL coaches and scouts.
“I saw it at an early age, he wasn’t afraid to throw his body in there,” Surtain Sr. told Ferguson and Lammey. “As he got bigger and matured and grew into his body, you saw it more. The days of the cover-cornerback are over because the game is so spread out now. You’ve got to be able to tackle in space. So, he’s taken that, and he’s gotten better and better every year and he’s going to bring that aspect to the game."
Surtain II is one of multiple players in this year’s draft class that is considered ‘legacies’ as their fathers previously played in the NFL. South Carolina corner Jaycee Horn is the son of former long-time New Orleans Saints Pro Bowl receiver Joe Horn. Florida State's Asante Samuel, Jr. hopes to make an NFL career as his father did in New England and Philadelphia.
There’s also Nebraska wideout J.D. Spielman, the son of Minnesota GM Rick Spielman, hoping his name is called on draft day.
I can remember watching the Broncos face off against Surtain, Sr. with the Chiefs in what seems like yesterday but was in fact in the mid-2000s. Now it's come full circle as his son prepares to enter the draft this spring. Call it a feel-good story if you want, but football is a family business.
Social media is still relishing videos from Super Bowl LV including Tampa Bay Buccaneers safety Antoine Winfield, Jr. The rookie safety from Minnesota was seen celebrating the Bucs’ championship victory with his father, Winfield Sr., who was a three-time Pro Bowler for the Vikings. Despite enjoying a 13-year NFL career, Winfield, Sr. never won a championship, but you’d never know that based on the celebratory embrace between father and son.
There’s just something special about a father being proud of his son. Surtain, Sr. was asked by Ferguson about what seeing his son drafted in the first round would mean to him.
“Man, that would be awesome. You know, I’m not sure how I’ll react to it because it’s going to be such sudden emotions. But I know as a father, you always want your kids to do better than you," Senior said. "I went in the second round, [so] for him to have the same call that early in the draft would be a culmination of all the hard work and sacrifices that he’s put into it. As a father, I’m going to be proud."
The Broncos are dangerously thin at corner and with question marks surrounding the future of safety Justin Simmons, the most sensible move would be to draft a starting-caliber corner in the first round. I’m not saying that a first-round corner would solve all of Denver’s defensive woes, but a generational talent the likes of Surtain II is a massive step in the right direction that immediately fills a gaping hole in Vic Fangio’s defense.
"I told him, Denver is a great city and has a great organization," Senior told The FAN. "If that does happen on draft night and we’re coming to the Mile-High City, get ready!”
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