PFF Ranks Broncos’ 2021 Draft Class 2nd Best in the League

Denver Broncos Patrick Surtain II

Getty Denver Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II celebrates after getting an interception.

The Denver Broncos rookie class received some recognition on Thursday. Pro Football Focus released an article ranking the top draft classes from the 2021 NFL draft, and the Broncos’ class was ranked second overall.

Trevor Sikkema of PFF commended the depth of the Broncos’ draft class:

The depth of the Broncos’ class is what really sets it apart. The team was able to get really strong contributors at four different positions, with the highest grades coming from Javonte Williams and interior offensive lineman Quinn Meinerz (67.4). Cornerback Patrick Surtain II recorded a 65.5 overall grade on the season, which is lower than you would expect, but his tape is incredibly encouraging.

The Kansas City Chiefs claimed the top spot in the rankings with center Creed Humphrey recording PFF’s highest grade among all NFL centers this season.

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An overview of the Broncos’ rookie class

Here is a full list of the Broncos’ 2021 draft class:

Round 1 (ninth overall): Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama

Round 2 (35th overall): Javonte Williams, RB, UNC

Round 3 (98th overall): Quinn Meinerz, G, Wisconsin-Whitewater

Round 3 (105th overall): Baron Browning, LB, Ohio State

Round 5 (152nd overall): Caden Sterns, S, Texas

Round 5 (164th overall): Jamar Johnson, S, Indiana

Round 6 (219th overall): Seth Williams, WR, Auburn

Round 7 (237th overall): Kary Vincent Jr., CB, LSU

Round 7 (239th overall): Jonathon Cooper, EDGE, Ohio State

Round 7 (253rd overall): Marquiss Spencer, EDGE, Mississippi State

First-round pick Patrick Surtain II stood out as one of the best rookies in the league. In fact, he was selected to PFF’s All-Rookie Team.

Surtain had four interceptions this season, which led all rookies, and when targeted, he allowed a quarterback rating of 61.3, which was the 10th-best mark in the league.

Second-round pick Javonte Williams was another clear standout. He was selected to NFL.com’s All-Rookie Team. Williams rushed for 903 yards and four touchdowns on 203 carries, and he led the NFL in broken tackles.

Seventh-round pick Jonathon Cooper has been one of the early steals of the draft. Cooper generated 15 pressures and 2.5 sacks, despite only starting five games and playing 45 percent of the team’s defensive snaps.


The depth of the Broncos’ rookie class should benefit them next season

Surtain, Williams, Cooper, and Quinn Meinerz will remain key contributors next season, but there are a few players from this draft class that could be breakout candidates next season.

One intriguing prospect on the list is safety Jamar Johnson. He was excellent at Indiana, as he was a First-Team All-Big Ten selection in 2020. During the preseason, he was PFF’s second highest-graded rookie safety.

Nevertheless, Johnson did not play a single defensive snap this season. Hopefully, he can play a larger role moving forward.

Wide receiver Seth Williams is another player to watch. He played in only two games this season, but former head coach Vic Fangio spoke highly of Williams:

Williams was targeted once this season, and he hauled it in for a 34-yard gain.

As Sikkema mentioned, the Broncos’ rookie class really has a lot of depth, and it should benefit them for years to come.


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