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'I think I can come in and make an immediate impact': Pat Surtain II looks ahead to career in Denver

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — When ninth-overall pick Pat Surtain II arrives in Denver, he expects it won't be long before he can help his new team.

"I think could come in Day 1 and just make an impact on the team by my play style, by my play traits," Surtain said Thursday. "I think I can come in and make an immediate impact."

Surtain, the 2020 SEC Defensive Player of the Year and a unanimous first-team All-American, was dominant in coverage at Alabama. In 41 career games, he allowed just four touchdown receptions and a 46.1 completion percentage.

Shortly after he was drafted, Surtain said his experience — he was a three-year starter in Tuscaloosa — and football IQ could help him add to an already impressive defense.

"I think I can get in the playbook and learn it immediately and just make an impact on the field," Surtain said.

Surtain, who said he didn't have much pre-draft contact with the Broncos, honed his skills in practice against top-10 picks DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle and in SEC games against a score of other talented players. In Denver, he'll get to face off against former Alabama teammate Jerry Jeudy and learn from veteran defensive backs in Ronald Darby, Kyle Fuller and Bryce Callahan.

"I can benefit a lot learning from those guys," Surtain said. "[They're] very experienced guys in the NFL. Just picking their brain, learning from them each and every day. I think it would be a benefit for me."

As he adds his own skill set to the unit, Surtain could elevate the group from a solid, veteran defense to one of the league's best.

"It's a very stacked defense," Surtain said. "I can't wait to compete with those guys at a high level each and every day. I'm just very excited. I think … when it's all said and done, we're going to be the No. 1 defense in the NFL."

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