Broncos CB Pat Surtain II embraces being face of defense heading into Year 4: “His voice goes a long way on the team”

???? Broncos Mailbag: Is this the worst on-field drought in franchise history?

Still, there’s a bit of uncertainty about how Denver’s secondary will perform this fall, with the majority of the group young and unproven.

Twenty-five-year-old cornerback Damarri Mathis is hoping to rebound after getting benched in the middle of the 2023 campaign.

After an offseason of change within the Broncos’ roster, cornerback Pat Surtain II understands that his fourth season in the NFL comes with more responsibilities outside of defending the league’s top wide receivers.

With the departure of key players, including All-Pro safety and veteran voice Justin Simmons, the former Alabama standout is expected to take on a leadership role on defense. Surtain’s performance on the field had already warranted that, but with a secondary that features new faces and young players looking to prove themselves, it’s not like he had much of a choice.

“I take very much pride in it because that’s how the team views me,” Surtain told The Denver Post. “I’m blessed to be in the role that I’m now, so I just got to set an example.”

Surtain, the ninth overall pick in 2021, is used to being bestowed with high expectations.

As a five-star recruit at American Heritage High School in Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Surtain was ranked the top cornerback and the sixth-best overall recruit in 247Sports’ composite rankings. At Alabama, Surtain started in 12 games as a freshman before being named unanimous first-team All-American by the Associated Press in 2020.

At some point in the very near future, Surtain is also expected to become one of the highest-paid cornerbacks in NFL history.

“I’ve dealt with it my whole life,” Surtain said. “… Living up to those expectations and making a name for myself excites me the most.”

New Broncos defensive backs coach Jim Leonhard is excited to help Surtain grow as a leader. Even though Surtain has established himself as one of the premier cornerbacks in the sport, Leonhard believes he can have an even greater impact on and off the field.

“He’s getting to a point in his career where his voice goes a long way,” Leonhard said.

Throughout Surtain’s football career, he has let his play do the talking.

Former Alabama defensive backs coach Karl Scott jokingly said Surtain was so calm that he would have to check to see if the 6-foot-2 cornerback had a pulse. The moments when Surtain did let loose, Scott was stunned. He vividly remembers taking a freshman Surtain and the rest of Alabama’s defensive backs to the bowling alley and seeing a couple of players dancing to a Michael Jackson song.

When Scott turned around, he couldn’t believe Surtain was among the few. “I was shocked and you can tell when (Surtain) looked back, he was like ‘Oh, that’s not me,’” the Seahawks defensive backs coach and passing game coordinator said.

Surtain has always been a quiet person who keeps to himself. Safety Delarrin Turner-Yell, a Texas native, said he was surprised by Surtain’s reserved attitude because most of the players he knows from Florida are the opposite.

“You can’t get much out of him. I even asked him, ‘Pat, do you talk trash on the field?’” Turner-Yell said.

Indeed, Surtain’s teammates have rarely seen him taunt opponents or relish loudly in his success. But while his words are few, they carry weight among his teammates.

“He took me under …read more

Source:: The Denver Post – Sports


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