Junior | 6’2″, 203 lbs | American Heritage (Plantation, FL)
Versatile high-end cover corner with uncommon physical traits and elite ball skills
As the son of a former All-Pro defensive back and rated as the No. 1 cornerback coming out of high school IN 2018, expectations were sky-high for Patrick Surtain Jr. when arrived in Tuscaloosa. So far, he hasn’t disappointed.
He started 12 games at cornerback in addition to playing special teams as a true freshman as was named to a The Athletic’s Freshman All-American team. As a sophomore, he started all 13 games opposite recent first round pick, Trevon Diggs, and became one of the best players on Nick Saban’s defense. In two seasons, Surtain has accumulated 79 tackles, 15 breakups, 3 interceptions, and 4 forced fumbles.
Strengths of his Game
- Rare size and length for his position
- Matches up well with big, physical receivers and tight ends
- Can play outside corner, slot corner, “Star” (Alabama’s hybrid nickel positions) or free safety
- Does a good job using his long arms to get his hands on receivers to disrupt routes at the line of scrimmage
- Smooth hips, effortlessly shifts out of backpedal to turn and run
- Sticks to receivers in press coverage, doesn’t allow separation in first ten yards
- Long strider with high-end straight-line speed to hang with deep threat receivers
- Phenomenal ball skills — great at tracking ball in the air, uses length get hands in the right place to defend passes
- Uses size and strength to put himself in position to defend passes, doesn’t get boxed out by receiver on 50-50 balls
- Great hands, a threat to intercept anything that comes near him
- Nose for creating turnovers — 4 forced fumbles with “Peanut Punch”
Questions to Answer or Areas to Improve
- Okay tackler, but not great, doesn’t always wrap up
- Struggles to get off blocks when matched up with physical receivers
- At times, doesn’t seem overly eager to get involved in run support
Injury Concerns: N/A
Way Too Early Projection
Barring injury or some other major setback and assuming he does declare for the draft after his junior season, Surtain Jr. should be the first or second cornerback drafted in 2021. As one of the most polished and well-rounded defensive backs in college football, Surtain’s game will transition seamlessly from college to the NFL and he should make a significant impact as a rookie, just as he did as a freshman at Alabama.
What to Watch in 2020:
With an upperclassmen playing the other corner spot and Surtain often moving around to match up with bigger receivers, he didn’t always face opponents’ top receiver. As a junior in 2020, pencil him in to line up against the best wideouts in the country week in and week out — Ja’Marr Chase, George Pickens, Jhamon Ausbon. Surtain has more than held his own in every matchup he’s seen over the last two years. He’ll have plenty of opportunity to showcase why he should be the top cornerback in the 2021 class. Other than that, I’d like to see him improve his tackling and work to get more involved in defending the run on the outside.