Pro Bowl wide receiver Justin Jefferson will not be available for the Denver Broncos' Sunday night showdown vs. the Minnesota Vikings. Jefferson's absence greatly benefits the Broncos from a competitive advantage standpoint.
But from a football purist's perspective, Broncos Country is being deprived of the opportunity to see cornerback Patrick Surtain II lock horns with perhaps the NFL's most complete pass-catcher. A Jefferson matchup would have been appointment viewing, as Surtain is well-versed in drawing the tough one-on-one assignments on gameday.
The third-year corner's unique abilities have already placed him among the league's very best, as Surtain poses problems many elite receivers simply can't answer.
In a sit-down with NFL Network's James Palmer and Steve Wyche, former Pro Bowl wideout Steve Smith Sr. explained that the receivers going against Surtain need to adjust their approach.
"When I look at Patrick Surtain and the way that he plays, he is the kid in the neighborhood, hide your purse, hide your keys, he has his pit bull walking across the street—you go across the street," Smith said of Surtain. "He is not playing with anybody. He's a guy that makes you watch extra film."
"He's a problem child man. He's a trouble maker for wide recievers." - Steve Smith thinks the world of #broncos CB @PatSurtainll.— James Palmer (@JamesPalmerTV) November 16, 2023
Also, are the days of a top corner shadowing a top WR over? I asked that very question to @SteveSmithSr89 on The NFL Report TONIGHT at 7:15p ET pic.twitter.com/4U7wP1ZYaw
Surtain might not be getting consistent shine on a national level this season, but that will change if the Broncos keep on winning. Locking down Jefferson would have offered further proof that Surtain is indeed a throwback to the halcyon days of cover corners living on an island of their making.
Surtain's game reminds Smith of Hall-of-Famers like Darrelle Revis and Broncos legend Champ Bailey. That's rarefied company and high praise, especially for one so young, but Smith is of the opinion that Surtain's ability to thrive in any type of defensive system marks him out for greatness.
"He reminds me of a Darrelle Revis, a Champ Bailey, and what I mean by that, when I'm looking at film, I don't want this year's film," Smith said of Surtain. "Give me their whole last two years of film so I can get enough data. I need to be studying a Patrick Surtain II. I need to study him in the offseason. I need all of his plays—runs, pass, special teams. What's his favorite color? What season of the year does he like? What is his favorite candy? I need all the information. Good information, ancillary information, and then some fun facts as well because Patrick Surtain has the ability to be off coverage and still shut you down. And also be pressed up and shut you down. I don't think he gets enough credit, so I'm on record telling you—he's a problem child, man. He's a trouble maker for a wide receiver."
Whether he's a problem child or poster boy, Surtain comes as advertised across the league.
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