CB Patrick Surtain II, Alabama* (6’2”, 202)
Five-star recruit whose father is Dolphins great Patrick Surtain, also a cornerback. Started twelve games of fifteen games as a true freshman, finishing with 37 tackles, seven breakups, and one interception. Followed that up with 42 tackles, eight breakups, and two interceptions as a sophomore, then had 37 tackles, nine breakups, and one interception last year before declaring for the draft.
Has excellent size and length for the position, with a pro-ready build. Played a lot of techniques for the Tide, including press-man, bump-and-run, shuffle, and zone; comes from one of college football’s best programs in terms of preparing players for the pro game from a mental/technical standpoint. Highly respected corner who teams were not interested in testing often. Very physical at the line of scrimmage, using his length well to disrupt releases and bully opponents. Good footwork to match releases from press. Uses his size to pin opponents to the sidelines when he’s working against outside releases. Excellent anticipation/feel for route developments; well-prepared player who is very rarely fooled by a route. Pattern-recognition skills and size/strength allow him to get inside positioning against some crossing routes. Very disciplined with his eyes when working against route combinations. Does a great job of maintaining himself in-phase and getting his head around to locate when targeted down the sidelines, using his length to break up throws. Backpedal looks good although he wasn’t asked to do it very often. Good instincts to go for the strip when he can; forced four fumbles over the course of his career.
Played on the right side of the defense during the games reviewed, so footwork from the left is difficult to evaluate. Top-end speed is at least adequate but wins more because of his intelligence, physicality, and technique. so some teams may wonder whether he can stick with the most explosive receivers in the pro game. Doesn’t have elite stop-and-start ability and might struggle to stick with quick receivers in the slot. Can get caught up in congestion when working against shallow crosses. Would like to see him flatten out a little bit when defending against inside-breaking routes. Draws some flags by getting too aggressive/physical downfield at the top of the route. Closing burst is smoother than it is explosive.
One of the most advanced, pro-ready prospects in this year’s draft, combining excellent size and length, a physical approach to the game, great route-recognition skills, and polished technique. Lacks elite athletic ability, something which may prevent him from matching up against some of the quickest and most explosive pro options, but looks like a good bet to come in, make early contributions, and enjoy a long career as a starting cornerback.