The Denver Broncos put themselves in an interesting position on draft night. There was a lot going on heading into the first round on Thursday night and the Broncos bought into it. Will that end up being a mistake or a blessing?
Aaron Rodgers dropped a bomb on Thursday afternoon when a report came out that No. 12 has no intention of returning to the Green Bay Packers after an MVP season.
Quickly after the news came out, it was reported that Rodgers wanted to return to the West coast and more specifically, the AFC West. The Broncos quickly rose to the top of the list of potential suitors. This could have shied the front office away from a quarterback in the first round at No. 9.
With both Justin Fields and Mac Jones on the board, the Broncos decided to continue to strengthen their defense and take the top cornerback in Patrick Surtain II. It is hard to be mad at this pick.
The Alabama product has a chance to turn into an All-Pro player at the next level. The fact that he was the second cornerback taken makes this even more of a steal for Denver.
Patrick Surtain II will be expected to make an immediate impact for the Broncos as a rookie. Here are three early predictions for the corner in his first year in the league.
3. Will Dispel Any Uncertainty
Even when a team takes the best cornerback in the 2021 NFL Draft in the top 10, there will still be some that think this was the wrong selection. We have seen that over the last week with the Broncos and Patrick Surtain II. Many believe that the Alabama product was not the correct pick but why? Mainly because of the quarterback situation.
Put Rodgers aside, the Broncos recently made a trade to acquire Teddy Bridgewater. He might not be the future but he is a capable starting quarterback in the league, which is more than could be said about Drew Lock. Because of this, many expected the Broncos to select a quarterback. Fields would have been the popular choice at nine. This was not necessary.
Sometimes, a team does not need to reach on a quarterback. If Denver did not feel great about Fields, it makes sense to pass. There will be plenty of chances for a team to add a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft and they must make sure that it is the right one. There is no need to take a quarterback just to say you did.
The Broncos can survive a year with Bridgewater while adding the best cornerback in the 2021 NFL Draft in Suratin. It’s not like Fields would have made the Broncos contenders right away, especially with the Kansas City Chiefs in division. Now, they can plug Surtain into an already strong defense and get to work.
2. Will Intercept Patrick Mahomes
There is no doubt who the best quarterback in the league is. Patrick Mahomes might be the best overall player and he has reached this level at just 25 years old. It is no mystery why the Broncos went heavy on defense both in free agency and in the 2021 NFL Draft. There are few better ways to make an impression for your new team than getting an interception against the league’s top quarterback.
Surtain will have plenty of chances with the way the Chiefs like to throw the ball. The only problem is that Mahomes is one of the best at taking care of the football. After 12 interceptions in his first full year in 2018, Mahomes has combined for just 11 in the previous two years.
During that 2018 season, Mahomes added 5,000 yards, 50 touchdowns, and an MVP award so the 12 interceptions were not a big deal. Surtain is expected to come in and contribute to a much-improved secondary right away. With these two teams playing twice, Surtain will have chances to make an impact and set the tone for his career.
This rivalry could be back in 2021 and the defense for the Broncos is the reason why. It will be interesting to see how both sides adjust to what has changed heading into the season.
1. Will Contribute to Top-Five Defense
A top-five prediction might even be a bit low for this group. An already electric defense found a way to improve during the 2021 NFL Draft. George Paton used seven of the team’s 10 picks on the defensive side of the ball and they can all be justified. They found great value, especially in the secondary.
Surtain and LSU product Kary Vincent Jr. were taken to join free-agent signings Kyle Fuller and Ronald Darby at cornerback. The secondary was already strong with All-Pro Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson at the safety positions. This is not to mention Von Miller and Bradley Chubb at outside linebacker.
In a difficult AFC West, the Broncos need to be as strong as possible on the defensive side of the ball. This is where the addition of Patrick Surtain II could really help right away. There should be no ill will surrounding this pick.
Denver added a corner with great technique and footwork with Pro-Bowl potential. Add this to an already stellar defense and there will be some fireworks in Denver during the 2021 NFL season.