Patrick Surtain II

Broncos, Patrick Surtain II Agree To Deal

The second cornerback off the board in this year’s draft, Patrick Surtain II signed his rookie contract Tuesday. Surtain and the Broncos agreed on the four-year slot deal (feat. the fifth-year option), Ian Rapoport of NFL.com tweets. This year’s No. 9 overall pick is set to make $20.9MM over the course of his rookie pact.

Denver certainly held Surtain in high regard, passing on a glaring quarterback need to land the former Alabama standout at No. 9. The Broncos did not speak with Surtain during the pre-draft process, but new Denver GM George Paton was with Miami when the Dolphins employed Surtain’s father — Patrick Surtain, a Pro Bowl cornerback in the 2000s.

The younger Surtain became the most significant piece of this year’s Broncos cornerback overhaul. Having seen their Super Bowl-winning No Fly Zone secondary splinter in recent years, the Broncos were thin at corner last season. By the end of the 2020 slate, the Broncos were without their top two corners — A.J. Bouye and Bryce Callahan. They were thin here in 2019 as well, with Callahan missing the season due to injury. Surtain and free agent signings Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller now join Callahan in Denver.

A 6-foot-2 cover man, Surtain started 38 straight games for the Crimson Tide and finished as a consensus All-American as a junior in 2020. Scouts Inc. slotted Surtain as this year’s top cornerback prospect, just ahead of Jaycee Horn, who went eighth overall to the Panthers.

Despite not yet being under contract, Surtain attended Denver’s rookie minicamp last weekend. Here is how the Broncos’ rookie class looks:

Round 1: No. 9 Patrick Surtain II, CB (Alabama) (signed)
Round 2: No. 35 (from Falcons) Javonte Williams, RB (North Carolina)
Round 3: No. 98 (from Saints): Quinn Meinerz, OL (Wisconsin-Whitewater)
Round 3: No. 105 (from Saints) Baron Browning, LB (Ohio State)
Round 5: No. 152 Caden Sterns, S (Texas)
Round 5: No. 164 (from Bears via Giants) Jamar Johnson, S (Indiana) (signed)
Round 6: No. 219 (from Falcons) Seth Williams, WR (Auburn) (signed)
Round 7: No. 237 Kary Vincent Jr., CB (LSU) (signed)
Round 7: No. 239 (from Giants) Jonathon Cooper, LB (Ohio State)
Round 7: No. 253 (from Browns) Marquiss Spencer, DL (Mississippi State) (signed)

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DB Notes: Hughes, Surtain, Bears, Cowboys

The Vikings punted on Mike Hughes‘ contract year, sending the former first-round cornerback to the Chiefs in a pick-swap trade involving late-round selections. They felt comfortable doing so because of their additions at the position this offseason.

Mike is a terrific kid; he’s been injured an awful lot,” Mike Zimmer said, via ESPN.com’s Courtney Cronin (Twitter links). “With the way that everything is now, we were fortunate to get a couple corners last year in the draft, we signed Patrick Peterson in free agency, so I think that gave us the opportunity to make the trade.”

Minnesota signed Peterson to a one-year, $10MM deal and reunited with former second-round pick Mackensie Alexander on a one-year pact. The Vikings drafted two corners high last year — first-rounder Jeff Gladney and third-rounder Cameron Dantzler — but a Gladney arrest earlier this year could affect his NFL future. Taken 30th overall in 2018, Hughes has only played 24 regular-season games during his career. The Chiefs have now taken fliers on two recent first-round corners — Hughes and DeAndre Baker — at low-cost rates.

Here is the latest news surrounding NFL secondaries:

  • Despite Justin Fields remaining on the board, the Broncos selected Patrick Surtain II at No. 9 overall. After seeing the last of their Super Bowl-winning No Fly Zone cogs depart in 2020 (Chris Harris) and Bryce Callahan encounter another injury, the Broncos moved aggressively at corner this offseason. Surtain, Ronald Darby and Kyle Fuller now join Callahan. With the three veterans perhaps in line to be Denver’s top corners in Week 1, Surtain may be eased in gradually. However, he is viewed as an impact prospect who should be expected to help in 2021. Vic Fangio said the Broncos will train the 6-foot-2 cover man on the outside and in the slot, via Ryan O’Halloran of the Denver Post.
  • Formerly possessing a high-end cornerback contingent, the Bears have seen two of those cogs — Callahan and Fuller — rejoin Fangio in Colorado. The Bears cut Fuller this year after releasing slot man Buster Skrine. They signed Desmond Trufant, but the former Falcons Pro Bowler has missed 17 games over the past two years. Chicago has Jaylon Johnson locked in as a starter but did not draft a corner until Round 6 this year (Thomas Graham Jr.). Nevertheless, new Bears DC Sean Desai does not believe the team needs outside help here. “We’ve got enough depth where we’ll be able to solve that problem,” Desai said, via Colleen Kane of the Chicago Tribune. Desai mentioned 2020 fifth-rounder Kindle Vildor, who played 135 defensive snaps last season, as a player who could be elevated into regular duty — either outside or in the slot. The Bears have, however, checked in on Steven Nelson, joining several other teams in doing so.
  • Although the Cowboys signed former first-round safety Keanu Neal, they are planning a hybrid role for the standout tackler. At safety, the team may well be set to turn to the other ex-Falcon cover man they signed this offseason. Damontae Kazee and Donovan Wilson look like the favorites to start at safety, per Jon Machota of The Athletic (subscription required). A 2019 sixth-round pick, Wilson started 10 Cowboys games last season. Kazee replaced Neal as a full-time starter in 2018 and ’19, when Neal suffered early-season injuries. But the former fifth-round pick is coming off an Achilles tear himself, which could impact his path to the starting lineup.

Saints Tried To Trade Up For Jaycee Horn, Patrick Surtain II

The Saints ended up bolstering their defensive end corps in the first round, but the four-time reigning AFC South champions spent extensive time Thursday night attempting to trade up for a cornerback.

Jaycee Horn appealed most to the team, according to The Athletic’s Jeff Duncan (subscription required). New Orleans’ trade efforts to move into the top 10 centered on Joe Horn‘s son, but teams were not eager to move out of their positions that high in the draft. Most did not entertain the Saints’ pre-draft offers.

The effort to trade into the top 10 also involved Patrick Surtain II, whom the Saints expected to be gone by No. 10 (Dallas). However, only one team picking that high entered into substantive discussions with the Saints, per Duncan. The Broncos ended up taking Surtain at No. 9 but had previously talked about moving down with the Saints. And “substantive” might be excessive here, with the Broncos wanting multiple first- and second-round picks to move down 18 spots. Viewing the Broncos’ counteroffer as unreasonable, the Saints did not entertain it and later watched as Denver selected the Alabama corner just after Carolina drafted Horn.

Three years ago, the Saints managed to pull off a somewhat similar trade. They moved from No. 27 to No. 14 to select Marcus Davenport. That deal cost the team a 2019 first-rounder and a fifth-rounder later in the ’18 draft. New Orleans ended up adding to its D-end crew Thursday by selecting Payton Turner, but the team has a clear need going into Friday’s draft portion.

Finding a corner to join Marshon Lattimore and C.J. Garnder-Johnson will be paramount for the Saints on Friday night. They are expected to add multiple players to this position by offseason’s end, per Duncan. New Orleans lost Janoris Jenkins in free agency. While Patrick Robinson remains on the team, the Saints have not used the veteran extensively in his second stint with the team.

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Broncos Draft CB Patrick Surtain II

The Broncos didn’t take a quarterback after all. With the No. 9 overall pick, the Broncos selected Alabama cornerback Patrick Surtain II

An All-American as a junior, Surtain finished with a career-high nine passes defensed this season, leading to SEC Defensive Player of the Years honors. That performance vaulted him up the draft boards, just shy of fellow corner Jaycee Horn.

We previously heard that the Cowboys were split between Horn and Surtain. Now, they’ll have to pivot. The Cardinals were also infatuated with both corners, so they’ll have to look further down the board when they pick in the middle of the order.

Surtain will follow his father, Patrick Surtain, into the pros. The elder Surtain was a longtime NFL corner who became a Dolphins second-round pick in 1998. An All-American as a junior, Surtain finished with a career-high nine passes defensed in 2020. Now, in Denver, Surtain will join a talented cornerback group that includes Ronald Darby, Kyle Fuller, and Bryce Callahan.

He’s the first defensive player drafted in Round 1 by the Broncos since 2018, when they tapped Bradley Chubb No. 5 overall. He’s also Denver’s first Round 1 defensive back since Bradley Roby in 2014.

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Cowboys Split On Which Cornerback To Select At No. 10

The Cowboys could be eyeing a cornerback with the No. 10 pick, but it sounds like the organization is split on who they should take. Tony Pauline of Pro Football Network reports that there’s a “50/50 split” in the Dallas front office about whether the team should select Patrick Surtain II or Jaycee Horn with their first-round pick.

If the Cowboys are indeed seeking a cornerback, it makes sense that the team is deciding between Surtain and Horn; the duo has established themselves as the top-two cornerbacks in the entire draft. Dallas could use reinforcement everywhere on their defense, but as ESPN’s Todd Archer notes, there aren’t pass-rushers or defensive tackles worth taking at the No. 10 spot (and the team’s need for a linebacker doesn’t outweigh their need for a cornerback). While the Cowboys front office is apparently struggling to decide which of the cornerbacks to select (assuming they even have that luxury), the team can be confident that they’ll be adding a foundational piece to their defense.

While it’s always important to take pre-draft news with a grain of salt, Archer notes that the Cowboys have generally hinted at their first-round selection days before the draft. The reporter details how the Cowboys have narrowed their focus on a specific first-rounder each year since 2015, with the one exception being last year when CeeDee Lamb unexpectedly fell.

One thing is for sure: the Cowboys won’t be trading up from No. 10. The team has made it abundantly clear that they won’t pay the required bounty in order to move up the draft board, even if tight end Kyle Pitts (a Jerry Jones favorite) falls outside of the top-four

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Cardinals Eyeing CBs, Jaylen Waddle?

Quarterbacks and other top-10 prospects have dominated this year’s draft discussions, overshadowing the rest of this year’s class. The Cardinals hold pick No. 16 and are considering multiple paths, including one that involves a highly coveted pass catcher.

Arizona is interested in cornerbacks Patrick Surtain II and Jaycee Horn, per ProFootballNetwork.com’s Tony Pauline, who adds the team is also eyeing Jaylen Waddle. However, it is quite possible all three of these players will be gone by the time the Cardinals go on the clock. This would point the Steve Keim-run team to a trade-up scenario.

The Cards gave A.J. Green a one-year, $6MM deal to see if he can rediscover his pre-2019 form. They have Christian Kirk, but he is going into a contract year and has not been especially consistent as a pro. Larry Fitzgerald remains unsigned and is expected to retire after 17 seasons. Waddle would certainly make for a flashy DeAndre Hopkins complementary piece, but the Cards would almost certainly have to trade up to land him.

Patrick Peterson defected to the Vikings in free agency, and although Arizona agreed to terms with Malcolm Butler, he is going into his age-31 season. The Cardinals have Byron Murphy signed through 2022 but could use additional help at corner. Surtain has been viewed as a player likely to go off the board in the top half of the first round for months, while Horn has made a late climb. However, Todd McShay’s latest ESPN.com mock has the South Carolina corner falling to the Cards at 16.

The team is believed to view linebacker Zaven Collins as a potential contingency plan, according to Pauline. A Tulsa product, Collins has a versatile skill set that could be utilized as a pass rusher or pure linebacker. The Cards going in this direction would be interesting, given Haason Reddick‘s struggles in a hybrid role for most of his Arizona tenure and the team’s selection of versatile ‘backer Isaiah Simmons in last year’s first round.

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Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II, Jaylen Waddle, Mac Jones To Enter Draft

Days after a lopsided national championship victory, Alabama will see several of its starters make the expected jump to the NFL. Wide receiver Jaylen Waddle, cornerback Patrick Surtain II, quarterback Mac Jones and defensive tackle Christian Barmore announced Thursday they will enter the 2021 draft.

All four are projected first-round picks, according to ESPN.com’s Todd McShay. Surtain, Jones and Waddle will respectively forgo their senior seasons, while Barmore will leave two Crimson Tide years on the table. Surtain and Waddle have appeared in first-round mocks for a while now; it is not out of the question both join Heisman winner DeVonta Smith as top-10 picks.

Waddle will land alongside Smith and LSU opt-out Ja’Marr Chase atop the receiver prospects in what is expected to be another deep wideout class. While Waddle saw an ankle fracture interrupt his final Alabama season, he suited up against Ohio State — albeit at far less than 100% — and should be expected to go off the board fairly early in the draft. Smith and Waddle, who averaged 21.1 yards per catch this season, will follow ex-Crimson Tide teammates Henry Ruggs and Jerry Jeudy as first-round prospects. Waddle is not certain to be ready for the Combine or pre-draft workouts, however.

An All-American as a junior, Surtain finished with a career-high nine passes defensed this season. He will follow his father, Patrick Surtain, into the pros. The elder Surtain was a longtime NFL corner who became a Dolphins second-round pick in 1998. McShay has the younger Surtain and Barmore going off the board at 10th and 27th overall, respectively. The latter recorded eight sacks this season.

At Alabama during Jalen Hurts and Tua Tagovailoa‘s starting tenures, Jones took over late last season after Tagovailoa’s hip injury. Despite the COVID-19-altered season limiting Alabama to 13 games total, Jones set a program record with 4,500 passing yards and finished with a 77% completion rate and a 41-4 TD-INT ratio. He will join Trevor Lawrence, North Dakota State’s Trey Lance, BYU’s Zach Wilson and (likely) Ohio State’s Justin Fields as surefire Round 1 prospects.

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