ENGLEWOOD — From April to December, Pat Surtain II established himself as the Broncos' best player.
His peers and coaches recognized his ascension, voting the former Alabama star a Pro Bowl starter on Wednesday night.
Surtain and Deltha O'Neal are the only two Broncos cornerbacks to achieve Pro Bowl status by their second season, and Surtain represents the first starter.
"Broncos Country!! Thanks for all the love and appreciation First One, Forever Grateful. Only up from here!" tweeted Surtain.
Surtain never broke the top 10 in the fan voting. But Pro Bowl voting honors are split in thirds — fans, players and coaches. Surtain's skills — he covers tighter than Saran Wrap — became obvious in the opener when he matched up well against Seattle star D.K. Metcalf.
His strong play continued — there were hiccups vs. the Raiders and Panthers, the nature of the position — and teams have spent large chunks of games refusing to look his way. Against the Titans, he was targeted once, a sign of respect for his game.
Safety Justin Simmons was named an alternate to the Pro Bowl on Feb. 5, which will feature skills competitions and a flag football game, eschewing the traditional padded event.
The Broncos did not have a Pro Bowl representative last season for the first time since 1980. Surtain is the sixth Broncos cornerback to receive the honor, and first since Chris Harris Jr. in 2018.