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Fangio Doubles Down on Broncos Drafting CB Patrick Surtain II | In a Re-Do 'It'd be the Same Pick'

Vic Fangio had a message for those who criticized the Broncos for drafting the 'safe' Patrick Surtian II instead of a quarterback.

Denver Broncos' GM George Paton proved he was very much his own man by selecting standout Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II with the No. 9 overall pick in the 2021 NFL draft instead of capitulating to the pressure to take one of the two remaining quarterbacks like Justin Fields or Mac Jones. 

Many fans, and some pundits, pounded the table for Paton to fill a perceived immediate need by drafting Penn State's star linebacker Micah Parsons. Instead, it was a different defensive maven. 

As things currently stand, Parsons remains the frontrunner for the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Year award after falling into the lap of the grateful Dallas Cowboys only two spots after Surtain went to Denver. 

Big-market media exposure, and specifically, playing for 'America's Team', often artificially vaults players like Parsons to receive additional publicity and attention, but Surtain’s pair of interceptions last week, the second of which he returned to the house, has undoubtedly thrust him back into contention.

Head coach Vic Fangio was clear on Monday when he stated that Surtain “No doubt" is deserving of DRoY honors. Fast forward to Wednesday, and Surtain's case is all the stronger as he was named AFC Defensive Player of the Week

As definitive as Fangio's response was on the subject, he also made a point of saying the Broncos have no buyer's remorse on taking Surtain at pick No. 9 instead of a quarterback or Parsons. 

“I don’t want to speak for George, but I think I am,” Fangio said. “If we had to redo the draft right now and it was the same players available at No. 9—it’d be the same pick.”

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Surtain’s body of work has forced some draftniks to fall on the sword after stating that Paton played it too safe when he could have pushed the envelope. Perhaps that initial reaction missed the point, especially when you factor in Parsons' well-documented character issues and the inherent difficulties of hitting on a rookie signal-caller. 

Opting to take Surtain was rooted in old-fashioned front-office logic, and given Fangio’s defensive background, he wasn’t going to complain. This coming Sunday night at Arrowhead Stadium, a national television audience will get to see what assignment Surtain might pull, particularly because dangerous threats like wideout Tyreek Hill and tight end Travis Kelce will be lining up across from the AFC's reigning DPoW. 

“I was happy for Pat," Fangio said of the rookie's Conference accolade. "Obviously, I thought he deserved it. He’s had a good season for us [and] been a great pick for us. We’re thrilled to have him. All good stuff. Our DBs have a big challenge; our whole defense does. They’ve got speed galore. They throw it deep. They run [well] after the catch, so it’ll be an all-day sucker for everyone on defense.”

Sunday night's matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs will put Paton’s first draft haul back under the microscope. With so many other rookies currently making key contributions for the Broncos, the fact that Paton took the ostensibly 'safe' option isn’t exactly backfiring.

Follow Keith on Twitter @KeithC_NFL.

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