ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — With the Broncos’ season on the verge of going dark, the defense refused to dim the lights. The group powered a five-game winning streak, kept playoff hopes flickering until last Sunday, and was awarded on Wednesday.
Star cornerback Pat Surtain II and standout safety Justin Simmons were named starters in next month’s Pro Bowl. Rookie receiver Marvin Mims Jr. joined them as a returner.
In only his third season, Surtain, 23, has emerged as the team’s biggest star, earning Pro Bowl honors for his second straight year after making All-Pro in 2022. Charged with facing a team’s top receiver, Surtain put in his best work against the likes of Stephon Diggs, Garrett Wilson and Amari Cooper. Surtain creates flexibility for defensive coordinator Vance Joseph, allowing him to take out top receivers for large chunks of time.
Surtain has recorded a team-high 11 passes defended, even as teams rarely target him. He is only the sixth Broncos cornerback to earn Pro Bowl honors in back-to-back seasons.
Simmons, 30, remains the Broncos' most decorated player. Lost in the years of losing, the former third-round choice has fashioned a stellar career. He is a two-time Pro Bowler and a four-time All-Pro. Simmons, 30, dealt with a groin/hip injury early in the season but helped spark the Broncos’ revival when he returned. Simmons boasts three interceptions and has 30 for his career defined as a ballhawk. This marks Simmons’ second Pro Bowl berth, coupling with his 2020 honor.
Simmons remains an elite center fielder and communicator, helping the secondary align correctly and make adjustments. He is the Broncos’ seventh safety to receive multiple Pro Bowl honors.
Mims Jr. remains faster than a blink. While still finding his way as a receiver, the second-round pick made an immediate impact on special teams. His 17.4 punt return average ranks top among players with at least 10 attempts. Mims also averages 26.3 yards on kick returns and delivered a 99-yard touchdown against the Dolphins.
Mims is only the third Broncos special teamer to receive Pro Bowl honors, joining Rick Upchurch and Glyn Milburn.
Right guard Quinn Meinerz and fullback Mike Burton were named third alternates. Meinerz, once known for his brutish strength, has refined his craft in his third season and become an offensive line anchor. Burton, in his first season with the Broncos, has distinguished himself as a blocker and short-yardage option. He delivered one of the best plays of his career while crushing multiple Chargers on Lil’ Jordan Humphrey’s long touchdown reception last Sunday.
The Broncos' lone snub was receiver Courtland Sutton. He ranks third in receiving touchdowns with 10, but his 770 yards worked against him.