ESPN thinks the Denver Broncos have an emerging “superstar” on their hands.
Bill Barnwell, a staff writer for ESPN, recently listed 25 breakout candidates for the 2022 season and he has Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II on his list.
Surtain might have been a Pro Bowl-caliber cornerback as a rookie. Entering the starting lineup in Week 2 for an injured Ronald Darby, he played a key role for the Broncos and never gave it back.
Coverage statistics are messy, but just about everyone agrees Surtain was great. Football Outsiders suggests he allowed just 6.0 yards per attempt in his direction, which ranked 20th in the NFL. Pro Football Reference says Surtain allowed 5.7 yards per attempt and a passer rating of 61.3. And NFL Next Gen Stats suggest opposing quarterbacks posted minus-21.8 EPA on throws on which Surtain was the closest defender in coverage, the fifth-best mark in the league among cornerbacks.
Surtain might already be a superstar. As it is, if he improves on what we saw a year ago, he could challenge Ramsey to be the league’s best.
Surtain certainly appears to have the skills to be one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL.
The former Alabama standout graded as an elite cornerback in 2022, so logic suggests he should be even better in his second season as a pro.
Obviously, Surtain still has to prove it on the field. But all signs point to the Broncos having the next great shutdown cornerback on their roster.
If that ends up being the case, it could very well be Denver that ends the Kansas City Chiefs’ run of six straight AFC West division titles.
Featured image via Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports