In just his second year in the league, Pat Surtain II is arguably the top cornerback in the NFL.
Surtain was named a first alternate for the 2022 Pro Bowl, when he recorded four interceptions, 58 tackles and allowed a passer rating of just 61.3 when targeted as a rookie. In 2022, the second-year defensive back has only gotten better — and making his first Pro Bowl would cement his status as one of the elite cornerbacks in the game.
He may not be on pace for the same interception totals in 2022, but Surtain's lockdown coverage has caused opposing quarterbacks to simply not throw in his direction as frequently. Matching up against some of the league's top wide receivers, including Davante Adams, DK Metcalf, Mike Williams and Deebo Samuel, Surtain has allowed just 3.8 yards per target and is one of only five cornerbacks in the NFL to not give up a touchdown this season (min. 300 snaps).
He is Pro Football Focus’ top-rated cornerback, and national NFL analysts such as NBC Sports' Chris Simms and ESPN's Bill Barnwell have named Surtain not only the league's best cornerback, but one of the best overall defenders.
While Surtain's lack of interceptions could hurt his standing in Pro Bowl voting, Head Coach Nathaniel Hackett explained that the lack of flashy numbers does not limit the cornerback's dominance at his position.
"He's an unbelievable football player, unbelievable person, and then [just] his work ethic, everything that he does," Hackett said Thursday. "He's playing at a very high level. I wouldn't really blame people for not trying to throw over there because of his skillset. I don't think you can entirely judge that on someone. If somebody's getting a lot of picks, maybe they're getting the ball thrown to him a whole bunch or maybe it was a tipped ball. There's a lot of things that go into an interception. I know where Pat is, and he's an unbelievable player regardless of what the stats say."
Voting for the 2023 Pro Bowl Games is now open, and fans can vote online here.
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The Black College Football Hall of Fame (BCFHOF) announced 25 finalists for its Class of 2023, and two former Broncos are among the select group.
Two-time Pro Bowl cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie was a member of the Broncos' 2013 team that reached Super Bowl XLVIII, and defensive back Tyrone Poole played for the Broncos in 2002. The inductees will be announced on Dec. 8 and recognized for the first time at the second annual HBCU Legacy Bowl in New Orleans on Feb. 25, 2023.
"The Finalists were selected from a field of over 200 nominees by an 11-member Selection Committee composed of prominent journalists, commentators, historians, former NFL General Managers and football executives," the BCFHOF noted in a press release on Nov. 15.