Former Alabama Crimson Tide star Patrick Surtain II is drawing high praise from his new defensive coordinator during his second NFL training camp with the Denver Broncos. Ejiro Evero, who just coached Jalen Ramsey and the other Los Angeles Rams cornerbacks during their Super Bowl-winning season, said they have “high expectations” for Surtain.
“He has high standards for himself, we have high expectations,” Evero told reporters, according to DenverBroncos.com. “Oh, it’s crazy. It’s effortless. He’s such a smooth athlete, and I think that’s one of the qualities of really good players, is they just make it look easy.”
Offensive coordinator Justin Outten told reporters about Surtain, “I’ll go over to him each and every day, and say, ‘Can you let us complete a pass, please? Just once?’ It is a very, very good defense. We get tested daily.”
The Broncos picked the 22-year-old Surtain with the ninth overall selection in the 2021 NFL Draft after his standout career at Alabama. Surtain, the son of former NFL cornerback and current Miami Dolphins coach Patrick Surtain, became a starter in the second week of the season and finished the season with four interceptions, earning All-Rookie honors.
Evero Said Surtain’s Work Ethic Is ‘Every Bit as Equal’ to Jalen Ramsey’s
Evero told reporters during Broncos’ training camp that he and Surtain aren’t worried about the comparisons to Rams’ star Jalen Ramsey, but are focusing on him playing to the best of his ability. Evero added thinks that having a year of experience under his belt will be great for Surtain entering his second season in Denver.
“The great thing about Pat is that, I don’t know if I’ve been around a corner, and Jalen was a heck of a worker himself, but Pat is every bit as equal in terms of just coming out and working every day and looking to get better.” Evero added, according to Mile High Huddle, “He’s a versatile guy. Obviously, he’s an outside corner. He’s played inside in the past, and he has a really good toolset. He’s a versatile player that we really like.”
First-year Broncos coach Nathaniel Hackett added, according to Mile High Huddle, “He’s a pain out there. Not only is he a great person, but when the guy goes out there, his intelligence of the game, his understanding of the game, his size and skills are pretty premier. Then you throw in all those other … DBs we have to go after every day. They’re doing a great job—all of them. Pat is doing a great job and he is a special player.”
Surtain told reporters on July 28, “I definitely feel more comfortable, more confident out there. It’s just being prepared, getting my mind ready each and every day. … I could always get better on my technique. You’re never perfect on technique. You can always work on little things that will help you elevate.” Surtain added that he thinks he and his teammates will be a top-five secondary in the NFL during the 2022 season.
Alabama’s 2022 Roster Is Loaded With Defensive Backs Who Could Join Surtain in the NFL
Several current Tide defensive backs could follow in Surtain’s footsteps into the NFL soon. Cornerback Eli Ricks is projected by ESPN’s Todd McShay as a potential top-10 pick. Ricks is entering his first season on the field with Alabama after recording four interceptions as an LSU freshman in 2020 and sitting out 2021 with an injury.
McShay’s ESPN colleague, Mel Kiper Jr., ranks Riggs as his top 2023 draft cornerback prospect, while listing Alabama defensive backs Jordan Battle, Brian Branch and DeMarco Hellams among the top 10 safeties entering next year’s draft. Malachi Moore could also be a high 2023 NFL draft pick.
Alabama coach Nick Saban said his top defensive backs have been dealing with injuries, but should be healthy to start the season, according to Sports Illustrated’s BamaCentral. Saban told reporters, “Those three guys’ development is going to be critical to the success of our team. I’m not disappointed in where they are right now, but I do think we need to continue to make progress at that position if we’re gonna get the kind of consistency in performance that we need to do the things that we’d like to do defensively.”