Cornerback Pat Surtain II has been a major part of the Broncos' midseason defensive resurgence and has entrenched his standing as one of the league's top corners. So when ESPN analysts Matt Miller and Matt Bowen compiled a list of the best players under 24 years old in a recent feature, the 23-year-old Surtain had a strong case for inclusion as one of the feature's first-team cornerbacks.
Surtain represented the Broncos on the 44-man list and joined Jets cornerback Sauce Gardner as the first-team selections on the NFL's All-Youngster team.
"Surtain is a long-framed cover corner with prototypical traits and high-level technique," Bowen wrote. "He will challenge receivers at all three levels of the field and can make tackles on the perimeter. Surtain has seven interceptions and 28 pass breakups over his three pro seasons. He's already a top-five player at the position."
Along with recognition from media outlets and a first-team All-Pro selection and Pro Bowl nod last year, Surtain has earned the respect of his peers — and opposing receivers — in his third season. Recently, Eagles All-Pro wide receiver A.J. Brown identified Surtain as the league's best corner in a FOX Sports segment.
The results on the field have backed up Surtain's reputation. Surtain held Raiders All-Pro wide receiver Davante Adams to two catches for 11 yards in their Week 1 matchup, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, and wrestled a fourth-quarter pass away from reigning Offensive Player of the Year Garrett Wilson for a key interception in the Broncos' game against the Jets in Week 5.
Surtain deflected credit to the Broncos' team accomplishments over their five-game winning streak and said the traits that have impressed him the most have been the defense's resilience and toughness.
"There were some plays that we could correct internally, but obviously we didn't let that go to our heads," Surtain said after the Broncos' 29-12 win against Cleveland. "We just kept on … pushing. It just goes to show our grit and our toughness each and every week. I'm just very proud of the team and what we've accomplished."