Championship CB Mocked to Broncos to Aid Pat Surtain II: ‘No Fly Zone 2.0’

Patrick Surtain II

Getty Broncos All-Pro cornerback Patrick Surtain II.

It is likely too early to look ahead to the 2025 NFL draft, yet fans of the Denver Broncos can always dream.

The team must build around franchise cornerstones like cornerback Patrick Surtain II for Denver to return to relevance. One draft analyst anticipates the Broncos will go defense in next year’s draft.

James Fragoza of Pro Football Network mocked Michigan CB Will Johnson to Denver to assist the All-Pro in the 2025 draft.

“Will Johnson could’ve played in the NFL as a true sophomore last season,” Fragoza wrote in his May 11 mock draft. “He has the size (6’2″, 200 pounds), length, and athleticism of a CB1. Now imagine him as the CB2 across from Pat Surtain II: No Fly Zone 2.0.”

Fragoza had Johnson landing in the Mile High City with the fourth overall pick in his hypothetical exercise. The junior defender helped the Wolverines win the 2024 College Football Playoff National Championship over the Washington Huskies.

Johnson Quickly Rose to CB1 Status With the Wolverines

Per 247Sports, Johnson was a four-star recruit from Grosse Pointe South High School in Michigan. He committed to the Wolverines in February 2021 and was part of the 2022 recruiting class.

Johnson immediately made his mark once he arrived in Ann Arbor. He quickly rose to CB1 status after being selected to the Freshman All-American team.

The highlight of Johnson’s freshman year came when he intercepted Purdue quarterback Aidan O’Connell twice to seal Michigan’s victory in the 2022 Big Ten Championship.

Johnson picked up right where he left off in his sophomore campaign, earning first-team All-American and consensus first-team All-Big Ten selections. In 12 games, including 11 starts, Johnson made 27 tackles with 4 interceptions, returning one for an 80-yard touchdown.

Michigan won its third straight Big Ten Championship in 2023 and advanced to the 2024 CFP National Championship.

Johnson intercepted Washington QB Michael Penix Jr. on the first play of the second half, helping the Wolverines cruise to a 34-13 win. Johnson came up big when it mattered most, earning Defensive MVP honors for his efforts.

Broncos Fare Extremely Well in 2021 NFL Draft Regrade

The Broncos have stumbled to mediocrity thanks to several questionable front office decisions. Fortunately for the franchise, the 2021 draft class spearheaded by Surtain was not included among those blunders.

Pete Prisco of CBS Sports originally gave Denver’s 2021 class an A and vaulted it to an A+ in his regrade.

“I loved the pick of Surtain, who has proven to be well worth it,” Prisco wrote in his May 14 article. “I liked their draft a lot, which is why they got such a lofty grade. I questioned taking [Caden] Sterns because of injury history, but liked him as a player. I also liked fifth-round safety Jamar Johnson, but he didn’t work out and is now playing in Canada.”

Denver had 10 picks in that draft and six of them are expected to be starters in 2024, Prisco noted. Javonte Williams, Quinn Meinerz, Baron Browning and Jonathan Cooper were also part of that haul.

Broncos Country was initially critical of the team passing over a franchise quarterback like Justin Fields. However, the Broncos gained several starters and depth pieces which is a win in itself.