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'Best corner in the league' and 'a guy who I study a lot': Pro Bowl colleagues rave about Broncos' defensive stars Pat Surtain II and Justin Simmons


ORLANDO, Fla. — At the NFL's annual Pro Bowl Games festivities, many of the league's best players assemble to form teams of superstars, some at quite different stages of their careers.

Rookies are in the same spaces as the veterans who they've watched for years, creating what must be at times a surreal experience. Burgeoning stars can connect with the game's elite who have made Pro Bowl appearances a yearly occurrence, and these experienced icons welcome the blossoming players with an appreciation that perhaps only such an exclusive group can understand.

As cornerback Pat Surtain II continues to build his career, he's very quickly gained that kind of respect from his peers, and at his second Pro Bowl, some of the league's best players were not shy to share their admiration for the third-year player.

"Everything," said seven-time Pro Bowler and Dolphins cornerback Jalen Ramsey about what he appreciates about Surtain's game in an interview with on Friday. "He reminds me of myself a little bit. At that stage of my career, he's probably a little bit more technique-sound than I was at corner. [He's] physical — a dog. I love watching him play. He's without a doubt a top-five corner in this game right now."

Six-time Pro Bowler and Eagles cornerback Darius Slay was willing to go even further.

"I think he's the best corner in the league," Slay said Friday. "He does it great, man. He's got size, speed, skills, technique. Overall, I consider him as the best one in the game. He's been doing it very well. I watch his film a lot. … After his rookie season, I watched his tape and I had put out a big tweet and said, 'Pat Surtain is probably the most well-polished rookie corner that I've seen in my life.' And I was like, '… He'll probably be the best one this year coming in.' Easily said and done, he was the best corner coming into Year 2 and going into Year 3.

"He should have been an All-Pro again, in my opinion. But yeah, he's one of the best — he is the best corner in the league. Not one of the best, he is the best."

On Sunday, the Broncos' Pro Bowlers, Justin Simmons, Pat Surtain II and Marvin Mims Jr., took part in the 2024 Pro Bowl Games' flag football matchup.

After being told of Slay's comments, Surtain said he was honored to get such recognition from one of the league's best cornerbacks over the past decade, but added that the acclaim and accolades won't make him complacent.

"It's big," Surtain said Sunday, "because he's been doing it year in and year out, and when you've got a guy that's been doing it consistently at an elite level say praise about you like that, it means a lot. But I think with me, I will never settle. I'm always looking to get better, always looking to correct the things I need to correct and just move on from here on out. I think I've got plenty more years left in the tank. I'm very excited to see what the years have to come for me."

Surtain wasn't the only player to get some kind words, as fellow AFC Pro Bowl safety Minkah Fitzpatrick said he watches tape of Broncos safety Justin Simmons.

"He's a great player," the four-time Pro Bowler told "He's a guy that can do a lot of different things. He's a very rangy safety. He's a guy that no matter where he's at, he's a threat and quarterbacks have to be wary of where he's at. I love watching him play. He's a guy who I study a lot. He's a high-level player and does a lot on the field."

During the week, there are opportunities to take advantage of having this proximity to the game's elite players, as they can exchange pointers or words of wisdom about the ins and outs of the game. However, it's also valuable on a personal level for players like Surtain and Simmons to experience a level of affirmation of their status among the league's best and to share a mutual respect.

"It was obviously cool meeting some of the guys around the league that you've looked up to or you appreciate their game," Simmons said Sunday, "and getting to chop it up with them throughout the week is pretty fun, too."