When Sports Illustrated senior writer Conor Orr wrote his article picking the most underrated player for each NFL team, he knew the section for the Broncos would sound ridiculous.
That's because, on the surface, it's hard to make sense of naming Pat Surtain II as the Broncos' most underrated player. The star cornerback made a hasty rise to the league's elite ranks in his 2022 season, earning All-Pro honors and his first Pro Bowl selection, among other accolades.
And yet, Orr still thinks Surtain is not properly assessed.
"All right, you say, this is absurd," Orr wrote. "We've all heard of Patrick Surtain II, a first-team All-Pro in his second season. But what about in the context that he may actually be the best cornerback in the NFL?"
To his point, Orr recalls Surtain's play against Raiders receiver Davante Adams, and after the full body of work of the past two seasons, Orr says Surtain's position in the league is still undervalued.
"Surtain is elite, and he's in a position to solidify that in 2023," Orr wrote. "With Jalen Ramsey in a bit of a torch-passing phase of his career, the mantle has cleared itself for a new No. 1. Surtain and [Jets CB Sauce] Gardner played an almost identical man-to-zone defense ratio. Gardner is going to have to repeat, though, and show an ability to match Surtain's consistently elevating game."
Below the Fold
Pro Football Focus has begun looking ahead to the upcoming season with rankings for position groups across the league, and while any preseason evaluations should be taken with a grain of salt, how they evaluate Denver's offensive line appears promising.
Sam Monson slotted the Broncos’ O-line at No. 11 in the league, up 10 spots from their end-of-season rankings.