While general manager Brian Gutekunst re-signed free agent Kevin King and tendered restricted free agent Chandon Sullivan, the Green Bay Packers enter this draft with a pronounced need at cornerback.
King has played only 52 percent of the defensive snaps in his four seasons. After a strong 2019 season, King regressed in 2020. But at least he played. Josh Jackson, a second-round pick in 2018, and Ka’dar Hollman, a sixth-round pick in 2019, weren’t even on the gameday roster in the playoffs. Taking a longer-range view, King will be a free agent again next offseason, as will Jackson and Sullivan. Those factors make getting a cornerback or two a priority in this draft.
Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II is our No. 1-ranked cornerback.
Get to Know Patrick Surtain II
A cornerback out of Southern Mississippi, Patrick Surtain was a second-round draft pick in 1998. In 11 NFL seasons, he intercepted 37 passes and was picked for three consecutive Pro Bowls from 2002 through 2004.
Patrick Surtain II almost certainly will be drafted about 30 picks before his father. Will he be as dominant as his famous father?
“I just not try to compare my career to my dad’s career, but just looking at his career he had an ultimately great career,” Surtain II said before of Alabama’s pro day. “I can control what I control by just going out there and playing my game the best I can. And at the end of the day, his legacy is his legacy, and I’m just trying to build on my legacy.”
“It’s his time now,” the elder Surtain told Rivals’ Bama Insider. “I told him, ‘I want you to be better than me. I had my time, and it’s your time to shine now.’”
Before starring at Alabama, Surtain played running back and cornerback as a youth football player. As he grew taller, his father figured it was time that his son officially started following in his footsteps.
“The thing was, he was getting so damn tall,” the older Surtain said with a laugh. “He hit a growth spurt around nine years old, and I’m like ‘Man, you are going to get banged up playing running back.’ He did both for a while, but I just saw it at an early age. He had the natural ball skills, and he had that athleticism. I told him, ‘You’re going to play defensive back in high school, and that’s going to be your path.’”
Surtain Sr. wound up coaching his son at American Heritage High School in Plantation, Fla. That secondary also featured Tyson Campbell, who wound up going to Georgia and is part of this draft class. Together, they won three state championships.
“Every day, we work to make each other better,” Surtain II told The Undefeated. “We bring the dog out of each other, that competitive nature out of each other. And we want to make our team better.”
Measureables, Stats and Scouting Report
Measureables: 6-foot-2, 208 pounds. 32 1/2-inch arms. 4.41 40, DNP shuttle, 39-inch vertical.
Stats and accolades: In three seasons, Surtain started 38 games and intercepted four passes and added four forced fumbles. In 2020, he had one interception and 13 passes defensed to be a unanimous first-team All-American and SEC Defensive Player of the Year. According to Sports Info Solutions, Surtain allowed a 40 percent catch rate and gave up two touchdowns in 2020. Pro Football Focus said Surtain played 662 snaps of press coverage the last two seasons, almost 200 more than any other prospect. His press-man rate of 59 percent was by far the most in the draft class, per SIS. According to SIS, he ranks 10th in the draft class with 19.3 yards allowed per game. He missed three tackles (8 percent).
NFL Draft Bible says: A lengthy, tough, physical corner, Surtain thrives in press coverage and owns strong bloodlines. PS2 owns rare height and long arms, along with excellent reactionary speed and shows a natural feel no matter where he lines up. Surtain has played primarily outside, but has also lined up at the star/nickel back position, in addition to playing all special teams for the Crimson Tide. Alabama associate defensive coordinator/safeties coach Charles Kelly has compared Surtain to Jalen Ramsey (Rams), whom he coached at Florida State. His mental acumen has been one of his most improved areas, being able to dissect routes and make pre-snap reads/adjustments. Surtain does an exceptional job creating turnovers via interceptions and more impressively, causing fumbles with his punch technique.
About This Series
Packer Central is introducing you to the top prospects, both on and off the field, in this year’s NFL Draft.