ENGLEWOOD — Driving into UCHealth Training Center Wednesday morning, an orange hue emerged in the sunrise. It proved to be a foreshadowing of a reason to smile.
The NFL named Broncos rookie cornerback Pat Surtain II AFC Defensive Player of the Week after his two interceptions sealed Denver's upset of the Chargers.
Not only did Surtain melt a scoring march with an end zone pick to set up Denver's most important scoring drive, he responded moments later with a 70-yard pick six.
Surtain, who finished with five tackles, is the first rookie this season with two interceptions and a score in a game. Drafted ninth overall, Surtain continues to impress. Since data became tracked in 1999, he ranks fourth in Broncos history among rookies with 11 passes defensed. He has started 10 games, and could become a factor this week if used to guard Kansas City tight end Travis Kelce. Surtain has inserted himself firmly in the conversation for Defensive Rookie of the Year along with Cowboys linebacker Micah Parsons.
The Broncos selected him with the ninth overall pick in the most draft. And Broncos coach Vic Fangio said nothing would change if the draft was held again.
"Obviously, the two interceptions everybody knows about, but he’s (broken) up some passes too that were critical," Fangio said. "They don’t quite get the same pizzazz that the picks do, but they’re just as critical. He’s been playing good football for us all year. We’re thrilled to have him. I don’t want to speak for (General Manager) George (Paton), but I think I am. If we had to redo the draft right now and it was the same players available at No. 9 — it’d be the same pick."
Surtain represents the first Broncos player to win the weekly honor since safety Kareem Jackson in Week 14 of 2019.