Broncos CB Pat Surtain aims to build on strong first season

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Denver Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain quickly emerged as one of the team’s best players after being picked in the first round of last year’s NFL draft out of Alabama.

Surtain missed just one game as a rookie, playing in 16 with 15 starts. In those contests, he totaled 58 tackles, 14 pass breakups and four interceptions — one of them a 70-yard pick-six.

That impressive rookie performance earned Surtain Pro Bowl alternate recognition, and he’s looking to build on it this fall.

“I think that the next step is to keep on building on that, keep on growing and keep on learning every day because in the league, you learn from experience,” Surtain said last week. “That’s the best thing about it — growing and utilizing your time wisely so you can understand what it takes to be a pro in this league. That’s what I’m doing.”

Denver did not re-sign slot cornerback Bryce Callahan this offseason, replacing him with veteran K’Waun Williams. The other top defensive back spots feature returning starters from last year — Surtain and Ronald Darby at cornerback with Justin Simmons and Kareem Jackson at safety.

With four of the top five defensive backs from last year returning, Surtain has big expectations for the secondary in 2022.

“I expect a lot,” the cornerback said. “I expect tremendous play out there. We have tremendous talent on the perimeter and on the inside, so it should be a very exciting year. We’re going to make a lot of plays and we’re going to be ballhawks, so it should be very fun.”

If he successfully builds on last year’s campaign and shows improvement in Year 2, Surtain will likely get even more than a Pro Bowl nod this season, with All-Pro recognition a realistic target for the rising star.

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