Any team looking for help in the secondary should have all eyes on Patrick Surtain II out of Alabama in the 2021 NFL Draft.
He’s a bigger corner with solid athleticism that does well in both man and zone coverage. Surtain II comes in as one of the top ranked corners in this draft, with him and Virginia Tech’s Caleb Farley as essential 1A and 1B.
Surtain II doesn’t have elite speed and quickness, but relies more on position and his size. He makes for a great matchup against bigger receivers. He also has an uncanny ability to punch and knock out footballs, as he has four forced fumbles in his career.
There’s no doubt Surtain II should be one of the top picks in the draft. With that, here are four ideal landing spots for Surtain II in the 2021 NFL Draft
Yes, the Falcons spent a first round pick on A.J. Terrell last draft. However, they still need a ton of help in the secondary, especially at cornerback.
The corner opposite of Terrell this season has been mostly Isaiah Oliver, as Darqueze Dennard has battle with injuries for a portion of the season. Kendall Sheffield also has seen an increase in playing time with Dennard sidelined.
But it doesn’t matter who has been on the field – the passing defense hasn’t been great for the Falcons. They gave up the most passing yards this season (4,697), and tied for the third-most passing touchdowns (34).
Dennard, along with corners Blidi Wreh-Wilson and Tyler Hall, are all impending free agents, but have been the three least-used corners this season. If the Falcons are truly satisfied (and they shouldn’t be) with the trio of Terrell, Sheffield, and Oliver, then they can look elsewhere for their first pick. But given how that unit has performed poorly this season, cornerback once agin should be addressed.
San Francisco 49ers
One of the biggest factors when it comes to deciding how to draft and is what happens with a team’s impending free agents. And at cornerback, it’s a pretty big issue for the 49ers.
The 49ers have their top four cornerbacks all facing free agency this offseason in Richard Sherman, K’Waun Williams, Ahkello Witherspoon, and Jason Verrett. Considering how well that unit seems to be ending this season, it would bode well for them when it comes to their market value and the 49ers won’t be able to bring all of them back with tight cap space. Sherman stated himself it would take a “miracle” for the 49ers to bring him back.
Emmanuel Moseley, who has battling injuries all year and has been sidelined for most games, is also going to be a free agent, after having a breakout season last year. Jamar Taylor and Dontae Johnson also will be free agents, as it just seems the list goes on and on and on for the 49ers.
San Francisco could have an almost entirely new cornerback core come next season and certainly, it’s a concern going into the NFL Draft. Patrick Surtain II is regarded as one of the top options at that position and with the 49ers looking to be in the 12-16 range, he could be available for the taking.
The Cowboys thought they could replace Byron Jones after letting him walk in free agency. Turns out they couldn’t. Their pass defense looked really, really bad at times with Jourdan Lewis, Trevon Diggs, and Chidobe Awuzie as the main unit.
Diggs hasn’t looked bad in his rookie season, but you get the feeling he would be better suited as the No. 2 cornerback. Lewis and Awuzie are both impending free agents, and despite extending Anthony Brown this offseason, he’s been dealing with injuries.
The Cowboys’ defensive unit was tied for the third-most passing touchdowns (34), despite seeing the second-least passing attempts against them. There’s no question that this defense needs improvement.
Why not Byron Jones 2.0? Surtain II’s size and athleticism have been compared to Jones by NFL.com’s Daniel Jeremiah. Dallas didn’t find a replacement for Jones this past offseason, but the answer might be in Surtain II in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Another year, another Eagles’ season decimated by injuries. You want a crazy stat? Since Doug Pederson took over in 2016, the Eagles have used 36 different defensive backs in 77 games. That’s the definition of a carousel.
This year has been no different. While Darius Slay and Nickell Robey-Coleman have been consistent in terms of staying healthy, it’s been a combination of Avonte Maddux, Cre’Von LeBlanc, Michael Jacquet III, and a bit of Kevon Seymour. And similar to the Falcons, no matter who has been on the field, the results aren’t there.
The Eagles finished giving up the fifth-highest average opponent QB rating with a 102.4, the sixth-highest completion percentage (68.7%) and the fourth-least interceptions (8). This all despite seeing the fifth-lowest passing attempts.
Robey-Coleman and LeBlanc will be free agents and the Eagle might need someone to pair alongside Slay. With Slay being a premier cornerback in the league, he could take the pressure off Patrick Surtain II as he won’t have to come in and immediately be the top cornerback.