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Mile High Morning: Pat Surtain II, Justin Simmons selected to ESPN's list of top 100 NFL players


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Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II and safety Justin Simmons have received a wealth of accolades following standout 2022 seasons, from Pro Bowl selections to spots on the NFL's Top 100.

On Monday morning, both players made another prestigious list: ESPN's 2023 NFL Rank, which picks the top 100 players in the league based on input from ESPN NFL Nation reporters. Surtain led the way at No. 34, while Simmons came in at No. 69.

Surtain was one of five players who are 23 or younger to break the top 50 of the ranking. In his second season, he started all 17 games and intercepted two passes, eventually earning first-team All-Pro honors. Surtain's ranking at No. 34 represented a 31-spot improvement from his ranking on the 2022 list.

"Surtain has the rare combination of size, length, speed and composure when he plays," ESPN Broncos reporter Jeff Legwold said. "He gives Broncos defensive coordinator Vance Joseph plenty of options in coverage, and many DCs around the league believe having a player like Surtain at cornerback is the first building block to a great defense."

Simmons was ranked as the third-best safety in the league, behind only Minkah Fitzpatrick of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Derwin James Jr. of the Los Angeles Chargers. In his seventh season with the Broncos in 2022, he recorded a career-high six interceptions, his third consecutive season with five interceptions or more.

"Simmons has been a mainstay, playing 100% of the Denver defense's snaps in four consecutive seasons," Legwold said. "He is durable, productive, a three-time second-team All-Pro selection and a leader in the locker room and in the community."

Earlier in the offseason, fellow NFL players voted Surtain and Simmons 49th and 59th, respectively, on the NFL Top 100.

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