• Roll with the Rookie: Patrick Surtain II, CB, Denver Broncos

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    It's a new season — which teams are ready to roll with their rookies? Let me tell you why the Denver Broncos should roll with their rookie Patrick Surtain II.

    Each new year, a new class of rookies enters the NFL. Some players get drafted higher than others, and some have to find their way as Undrafted Free Agents (UDFAs). No matter how their careers started, they all have the same goal — to be stars at the highest level. When you get drafted early (like Patrick Surtain II), there is pressure to produce immediately and a team will look to roll with the rookie right away.


    The Voyage

    The Broncos selected Patrick Suratin II with the ninth overall pick in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft. Surtain II played for the University of Alabama, where he was a three-year starter for the Crimson Tide. In 30 games, he made 38 consecutive starts while recording 116 tackles, 82 solo tackles, 6 TFLs, 4 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery, 4 interceptions, and 24 pass breakups (PBUs).

    Many thought the quarterback position was Denver's biggest need, despite having Drew Lock as their starter. They were expecting the Broncos to draft a QB, but in a draft-eve move, they traded for Teddy Bridgewater. Even with the trade for Bridgewater, there were still thoughts they would draft a QB. However, Denver had to change plans when “their guy” was off the board. With the change of plans, they looked to their next biggest need  — cornerback.

    It was a bit of a surprise that the Broncos took a cornerback that high, considering the depth of this cornerback class. Denver appears to be comfortable rolling with Surtain II as a starter, considering how early they drafted him. The Broncos invested some valuable draft capital in Surtain II, so they will be expecting a high return from him early. 

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    A New Quest

    The Broncos tried several players last season — Bryce Callahan, A.J. Bouye, and Michael Ojemudia, who they drafted in the third round of last year’s draft. However, none were able to solidify the position. Denver also signed free agent Kyle Fuller who has fours years of experience playing in HC Vic Fangio’s defensive scheme — to command one of the starting corner spots. Denver rolled with rookie Ojemudia last year, so they are clearly comfortable with playing younger players.

    Surtain II is as experienced as they come and has dominated as a starter versus elite competition (SEC). The Broncos desperately need Surtain II to become that lockdown corner they have been missing. He is super-talented, but that won’t deter opposing offenses from testing Surtain II early and often.

    As we all know, rookies, no matter how talented they are, get tested early and often. A lot will be expected from Surtain II, and he is going to have to be ready from day one. While he is a rookie and opposing offenses will test him regularly, he’s no ordinary rookie and will make those same offenses suffer if and when they make mistakes. 

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    The Fantasy Life

    Let’s look ahead to why you should roll with the rookie and the impact he will have on your fantasy teams. As I said earlier, all rookies get tested often. Those who can’t hold their own will get picked on a lot. As for Surtain II, I expect a ton of targets to come his way. Playing against the big arms in the AFC West, such as Patrick Mahomes and Justin Herbert, should only increase those targets.

    Surtain II’s fantasy impact is going to start high, due to the volume of targets he’ll face every week over his first two years. I expect him to be targeted less after the first two years if he proves to be as good as we all believe he is. With that said, he’ll still be a valuable fantasy option for many years ahead. I expect a high number of tackles from Surtain II, especially of the solo variety. That makes him very valuable in position-specific leagues. In your basic type IDP leagues, his value is a bit lower. Roll with the rookie and reap the rewards for your fantasy teams.

    Thanks for reading my article. I am a member of the FSWA (Fantasy Sports Writers of America), and you can read more of my articles on my author page at IDP Guys. Follow me on Twitter at @HollywoodTitan; on Facebook on my IDPNation page; on Reddit in the fantasy football IDP sub — I’m user KingTitan1. Tune in each week and listen to IDP Nation and Devy IDP Grind, the podcasts that I co-host, on several different platforms. Feel free to hit me up with any questions that you have, as I’m always glad to help fellow IDPers.  #IDPNation #IDP #IDPDevy.

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