Patrick Surtain II 2020 Preview By Charlie Campbell
Career Recap: Since coming to Alabama, Patrick Surtain II had no issues living up to large expectations. The son of a Pro Bowl cornerback who played for over a decade in the NFL with the Dolphins and Chiefs, Surtain saw the field as a freshman. It can be hard for young players to see the field given how Alabama consistently features a loaded secondary, but Surtain, was the exception, as the star recruit got a lot of playing time for a freshman under Nick Saban. Surtain played well in 2018, recording 28 tackles with an interception, seven passes defended and one forced fumble. He looked like he was just scratching the surface of his potential. As a sophomore in 2019, Surtain had 42 tackles with two interceptions, three forced fumbles and eight passes broken up
2020 Season Outlook: As one could expect, Surtain will see a lot of good receivers in SEC play. In Week 2, he will see a good quarterback and receiver combination with Texas A&M's Kellen Mond and Jhamon Ausbon. Ausbon is an underrated receiver who could be an early-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft. Ole Miss' Elijah Moore and Mississippi State's Osirus Mitchell are also on NFL teams' preseason watch list, and both of them are now playing in passing offenses under Lane Kiffin and Mike Leach.
Surtain should see his toughest test of the season in mid-November with LSU's Ja'Marr Chase. Chase is the best receiver in college football and a future high first-round pick. After Chase, Surtain will see some other NFL watch-list receivers, including Kentucky's Josh Ali and Auburn's Seth Williams.
Skill-Set Summary: There is a lot to like about Surtain for the NFL, as he looks like he could be a quality starter quickly in his pro career, especially if he is drafted into a system that plays a lot of press man. Surtain has excellent size with height and length that make it very difficult to get passes around him. Along with height and length, Surtain has developed strength to fight off receivers and maintain good positioning for contested passes. Surtain's height and length also help him to have nice recoverability to narrow the space and close the window for completing passes.
As a defender, Surtain has good feel, instincts, and advanced technique. He plays the ball really well and shows impressive ball skills for a big corner. With Surtain in close coverage, it can be a dangerous proposition to throw his direction because he is very capable of getting his hands on the ball to snatch it away or deflect it away from the receiver.
The big question with all large cornerbacks is how well they run, and Surtain has the speed necessary to play in the NFL. He is fast in a straight line and able to turn and run with receivers. While Surtain is not a blazer, he has enough quickness to run down the sideline and keep receivers from burning him over the top. He won't be one of the fastest corners in the NFL, but his speed won't make him a liability.
There are some issues for Surtain to work on as a junior. He is not a twitchy corner and has some change of direction problems. Surtain is better suited to line up on the outside against big receivers and is not a fit to move inside to the slot. Being an outside only corner is not the end of the world, but it cuts down on Surtain's versatility for his pro defense. His lack of twitch and his change-of-direction issues are common with big corners and are what make him a better fit for a press-man system. He is not a good fit for playing off-man coverage against NFL receivers.
After a little time adjusting to the NFL, Surtain should be off and running as a starter. He possesses the potential to be a good pro.
2021 NFL Draft Expectations: Entering the 2020 season, Surtain looks like he could be a first- or second-round pick, depending on how he plays as a junior.