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Mile High Morning: Pat Surtain II ranked as NFL's fifth-best cornerback by former QB David Carr

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The Lead

Broncos Country knows the generational talent of Pat Surtain II, and the second-year cornerback is earning national recognition as well.

NFL.com’s David Carr ranked the top 10 cornerbacks in the league in anticipation of NFL Network's upcoming "Top 100 Players of 2022" list, and he placed Surtain at No. 5 overall.

"Surtain is one of the best cornerbacks to come into the league over the last half-decade," Carr wrote. "The second-year pro doesn't panic when he has to turn and run with receivers. His athleticism and confidence are two reasons he broke out as a rookie, allowing the second-lowest passer rating in coverage (69.7) last season, per PFF (among 42 players with at least 75 targets in coverage)."

Entering just his second season in the NFL, Surtain is the youngest player on the list. In addition to allowing a low passer rating, Surtain recorded four interceptions and 14 passes defensed in 2021. He was a first alternate for the Pro Bowl and received All-Rookie honors, cementing an elite rookie season.

"Well-coached and calculated in his risk-taking, Surtain feels poised to have an even better performance in Year 2 with the Broncos' roster improving from top to bottom," Carr wrote.

The only cornerbacks who ranked higher than Surtain were the Falcons' A.J. Terrell, the Dolphins' Xavien Howard, the Rams' Jalen Ramsey and the Chargers' J.C. Jackson.

Surtain has been elite through the first 12 days of training camp, showing promise to take his game to an even higher level in 2022. He has shut down the Broncos' top receivers on many occasions, looking every bit like a top NFL cornerback.

Below the Fold

The most recent NFL.com power rankings list the Broncos at No. 8 in the NFL, higher than the AFC West rival Chargers and Raiders. Around the NFL’s Dan Hanzus discussed each team and the factors that determined their rankings.

"The Broncos suffered a terrible break last week with the news that wide receiver Tim Patrick tore his ACL after coming down awkwardly on his leg in practice," Hanzus wrote. "Patrick's skill set as an outside playmaker was a perfect fit for new quarterback Russell Wilson and his high-arcing deep balls -- the pressure now intensifies on 2020 first-round pick Jerry Jeudy and 2020 second-rounder K.J. Hamler, who stands to gain the biggest uptick in playing time with Patrick on the shelf until 2023. The injury, and subsequent perusal of Denver's depth chart, serves as a reminder that Wilson's new wideouts are talented -- but largely unproven."

The Unclassifieds

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