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Stand Pat. Surtain plans to let 'play do the talking'

Paton described Surtain as 'what corner should look like'
NFL Draft Football
Posted at 3:38 PM, Apr 30, 2021

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Pat Surtain is a rookie, a perilous position in a league full of grown men. Unlike most who enter the NFL, Surtain seems more prepared, skills honed since the age of 5 by his Pro Bowl father that bloomed fully at the University of Alabama.

His boring became beautiful to Broncos general manager George Paton. So skilled was Surtain, quarterbacks appeared more willing to eat tinfoil than throw in his direction. So even with quarterback Justin Fields available, Paton followed his board and put in the card for Surtain.

"He's everything you want in a corner," Paton said.

Well, not everything. He's not a talker. For Broncos Country that lost itself in joy watching Aqib Talib and Chris Harris Jr., Surtain uses a different strategy. He turns down the volume and cranks up the noise with his performance.

"I think that’s just been my character. You know, I’m a laid-back person. I don’t think that has anything to do with football, that’s just how I am. You know, just laid back. Chill. I just let my play do the talking," Surtain said. "That’s my main thing. And I just focus on the main thing. I think, going into the game my preparation and my focus helped me play at a high level."

Surtain hopes to wear No. 2 in his first season. It won't be long, if the Broncos' projections are correct, for him to become a No. 1 corner. Initially, he could log snaps in the nickel and dime, pairing with Kyle Fuller, Ronald Darby and Bryce Callahan. Fuller and Callahan are on expiring contracts, and the latter has missed 25 games the past three seasons because of foot injuries.

Fangio does not view Surtain as scheme dependent. And Paton sees Surtain, with his 6-foot-2, 208-pound frame and 38-inch vertical leap, as a blueprint.

"Guys this big, that’s what corners should look like. They shouldn’t move like he does. He’s long. He’s athletic. He fits everything Vic wants in a corner. He can play man. He can play zone. He can press. He tackles. He’s physical," Paton said. "With our division with these passing offenses, you need guys who can cover."

Broncos fans would also say you need offenses that can score to complement and enhance the defensive playmakers. That has been an issue for Denver, having averaged between 17 and 20 points the past five seasons. That is not Surtain's issue. He arrives ready to contribute. And, while his humility was striking, he confidently told the media he goes by Pat Sur-Tan.

And about those earrings? He boasted his nickname PS in the right ear and 2 in the left.

"Oh," Surtain said with a smile. "I have had these."

He can't be blamed for seeing a future in the NFL. His dad carved out a successful 13-year career. And the son began getting college offers in his sophomore season of high school. Going against stars Jerry Jeudy, Henry Ruggs, Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith at Alabama should only microwave his development.

"Of course facing (Broncos) Jeudy, you’re not going to get many matchups like that every day," Surtain said. "Facing all those other receivers helped me get better technically and mentally. It helped me prepare for next level. When I went into to the game it was much easier after going against four first rounder. I am excited and looking forward to the challenge."