Former Alabama Crimson Tide star Patrick Surtain II gets high praise from his new defensive coordinator during his second NFL training camp with the Denver Broncos. Ejiro Evero, who was coaching Jalen Ramsey and the other Los Angeles Rams cornerbacks during their Super Bowl season, said they have “high expectations” for Surtain.
“He has high standards for himself, we have high expectations,” Evero told reporters, according to DenverBroncos.com. “Oh, it’s crazy. It’s effortless. He’s such a lithe athlete and I think that’s one of the qualities of really good players, they make it look easy.”
Offensive coordinator Justin Outten told reporters of Surtain, “I’m going to go up to him every day and say, ‘Can you have us fill out a passport, please? Once only?’ It’s a very, very good defense. We are tested daily.”
The Broncos selected Surtain, 22, with a ninth overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft following his stellar career in Alabama. Surtain, the son of former NFL cornerback and current Miami Dolphins coach Patrick Surtain, became a starter in the second week of the season and finished the season with four interceptions, earning the all-rookie honorary title.
Evero told reporters during the Broncos’ training camp that he and Surtain aren’t worried about the comparisons to Rams star Jalen Ramsey, but are focusing on him playing to the best of his ability. Evero added that a year of experience will be great for Surtain as he heads into his second season at Denver.
“The great thing about Pat is, I don’t know if I was around the corner yet, and Jalen was a hell of a worker himself, but Pat doesn’t care either way about just getting out there and working every day and trying to be better Evero added, according to Mile High Huddle, “He’s a versatile guy. Obviously he’s an outside corner. He has played indoors in the past and has a really good tool set. He’s a versatile player that we like a lot.”
Broncos first-year coach Nathaniel Hackett added, according to Mile High Huddle, “He’s a pain in the ass out there. Not only is he a great person, but when the guy goes out his intelligence of the game, understanding of the game, height and skill is pretty top notch. Then throw in all the other…DBs we have to follow up on every day. They’re doing a great job – all of them. Pat is doing a great job and he is a special player.”
Surtain told reporters on July 28, “I definitely feel more comfortable and confident out there. It’s just preparing, preparing my mind every day. … I could always improve my technique. You are never perfect in technique. You can always work on little things that help you rise.” Surtain added that he believes he and his teammates will be among the top five secondaries in the NFL in the 2022 season.
Several of Tide’s current defensemen could soon follow in Surtain’s footsteps into the NFL. Cornerback Eli Ricks is being predicted by ESPN’s Todd McShay as a potential top-10 pick. Ricks is entering his first season on the field with Alabama after recording four interceptions in 2021 as an LSU freshman and sitting out 2022 with an injury.
McShay’s ESPN colleague Mel Kiper Jr. ranks Riggs as his top draft cornerback prospect for 2023 while listing Alabama defensemen Jordan Battle, Brian Branch and DeMarco Hellams among the top 10 safety players to play in the next year’s draft. Malachi Moore could also be a good 2023 NFL draft pick.
Alabama coach Nick Saban said his top defensemen were struggling with injuries but should be healthy for the start of the season, according to Sports Illustrated’s BamaCentral. Saban told reporters, “The development of these three guys will be critical to the success of our team. I’m not disappointed with where they are right now, but I think we need to keep making progress in this position if we’re going to get the kind of consistency that we need to be able to do the things we want to do defensively. “