First-round selection Pat Surtain II has garnered plenty of praise through his first NFL training camp and preseason appearances thanks to his propensity for big plays and his impressive instincts in coverage.
The rookie CB continues to impress, and NFL.com's Daniel Jeremiah reveals high expectations for Surtain's first season in his breakdown of the best- and worst-case scenarios for notable rookie defenders.
Surtain, taken at No. 9 overall by Denver in this year's draft, will be a key piece of the Broncos defense in 2021 as the Broncos look to compete in an offensive juggernaut of a division.
"He is going to face a gauntlet of talented pass catchers in the AFC West," Jeremiah said. "Keenan Allen and Tyreek Hill are two of the toughest matchups in the entire league."
But even Jeremiah's worst-case scenario for Surtain isn't bad news for Denver.
"[Worst case], he will give up some plays, but I think the Broncos will be happy with the way he handles himself," Jeremiah said.
The good news on Surtain is even better. The best case, according to Jeremiah, is that Surtain lives up to the hype and becomes a cornerstone for Denver's secondary.
"[Best case], he establishes himself as one of the premier big cornerbacks in the NFL," Jeremiah said.
Surtain's big-play potential has earned him a comparison to one of the league's top corners— Jalen Ramsey. Though Jeremiah describes Surtain as less "twitched up" than Ramsey, he also states that Surtain is a "more polished player than Ramsey was" out of college.
"I can envision Surtain emerging as a similar player right out of the gate," Jeremiah said.
Below the Fold
The Broncos' first- and second-round picks (Surtain and RB Javonte Williams) have earned plenty of attention with their explosive plays during the preseason. But Denver's third-round selection is also starting to make his presence known.
Rookie OL Quinn Meinerz, affectionately nicknamed "The Belly," earned a B grade from NFL.com's Chad Reuter for his second NFL preseason appearance last week.
The former Division III talent held his own on the field with the big boys of the NFL on Saturday, taking snaps at both right guard and center through the Broncos victory over the Seahawks.
"Meinerz was a great story at the 2021 Reese's Senior Bowl," Reuter said, "showing off his belly and NFL-caliber game at guard and center against top competition despite coming from Division III Wisconsin-Whitewater."
Reuter was impressed by Meinerz's play at both positions, but was especially complimentary of his contributions to pass protection while lined up at center.
"[Meinerz] gets his huge frame moving downfield when needed and was also willing to clean up a pile," Reuter said. "Coaches moved him to center late in the third quarter, where he was a rock in pass pro (by himself or on a double team) throughout the rest of the contest."
Overall, Reuter wrote that he believes that Meinerz's potential and performance so far will be enough to help him make it to the Broncos' final 53-man roster and beyond.
"The ability to stay upright while maintaining his power and nasty streak should allow Meinerz's feel-good story to continue for some time," Reuter said.