Alabama CB Patrick Surtain II
6-foot-2, 208 pounds
Yahoo Sports draft grade: 6.13 — possible immediate starter
TL;DR scouting report: Long, athletically blessed press corner with strong technique and pedigree
Games watched: Tennessee (2020), Florida (2020), Notre Dame (2020), Auburn (2020)
The skinny: A 5-star Rivals recruit (No. 8 nationally), Surtain didn’t follow his NFL father’s footsteps at Florida State, choosing the Crimson Tide instead. He stepped in as an immediate contributor in 2018, starting 12 of 15 games and making 37 tackles (1.5 for losses), one interception and eight pass breakups, earning SEC All-Freshman Team honors. In 2019, Surtain started all 13 games and made 42 tackles (one for a loss), two interceptions, 10 pass breakups and three forced fumbles.
In 2020, he made 38 tackles (3.5 for losses), one interception (which he ran back 25 yards for a score) and 13 pass breakups in 13 starts for the national champs, earning first-team AP All-America and SEC Defensive Player of the Year honors. After the season, he declared early for the 2021 NFL draft.
Upside: Textbook frame and athleticism — can’t draw them up any better. Outstanding length — 32 1/2-inch arms and 87 1/2-inch wingspan, with massive hands (10 inches). Great weight distribution and terrific mass.
Surpassed all hopes at his pro day. Answered questions about his straight-line speed (4.41-second 40-yard dash), tremendous numbers in the vertical (39 inches) and broad jumps (131 inches), plus 18 bench-press reps. Great positional work as well.
Natural cover skills, especially in man coverage. Extensive experience in press, press-bail and off-man. Played the left side mostly but also has been used on the right, in the slot, as an overhang defender and as a blitzer. Do-it-all corner.
Physical in press but also patient — takes a varied, sophisticated approach at the line. Smooth lower half in his mirror technique. Terrific footwork and balance, especially in his transitions. Great plant-and-drive ability once receivers declare their routes. Technique is sound across the board.
Closes fast and hard on short stuff in space — great tackler who rarely whiffs. Not a sledgehammer in run support, but a willing, active participant with some thump. Looks to dislodge the football — four career forced fumbles. Physical in coverage without going overboard. Cut way back on the grabbiness — went from six flags in 840 snaps in 2019 (including four PI calls) to zero flags in 916 snaps in 2020.
Great at the catch point. Times his jumps well and has the explosive athleticism to compete with big-framed wideouts on 50-50 balls. Terrific ball production — career 31 pass breakups, four INTs — and showed some playmaking ability after the pick (69 return yards, one TD).
Outstanding experience — finished his career with 38 straight starts. Competed against the best of the best week in and week out (especially in practice vs. Bama receivers). Well-coached and drilled — great route-recognition skills. Born to play corner. Son of three-time Pro Bowl corner, who also coached him in high school.
Great bloodlines and elite pedigree. Has an alpha aura and great confidence. Detail-oriented. Turned 21 years old in April and has room to get even better.
Downside: Vertical speed can tax him. Struggled some with big receivers who can get deep — Tennessee’s Josh Palmer and Florida’s Trevon Grimes both got on top of him. Makeup speed might only be average, even for his size.
Looks a little less comfortable in off-man coverage — not quite as lithe in his movement and reactions. Also not quite as impactful when Bama went zone.
Got away with some downfield contact in 2020 — NFL refs might not be as forgiving. Had a few matchups with bigger receivers who could match and neutralize his physicality. Can do a better job when it comes to fighting off blocks and dragging down ball carriers quicker. Zero forced fumbles last season.
Opted not to run the 3-cone drill or shuttle drills at pro day. Some mild concerns about his hip tightness, suddenness and twitch still linger. Needs to gather himself a bit during transitions. Can still lose late in man-coverage assignments vs. elite route runners and change-of-direction threats.
Best-suited destination: Perhaps the cleanest defensive evaluation in this entire class, Surtain is among the surest things you can find in 2021. We like him as a strong fit in a man-heavy system, and he projects as the kind of corner who can handle tough assignments early and not lose his confidence.
All signs point to Surtain being a Day 1 starter with a very high floor as well as tangible upside. Alabama associate defensive coordinator Charles Kelly compared Surtain to Jalen Ramsey, whom Kelly coached in college.
Did you know: Surtain was coached by his father at American Heritage High in Plantation, Florida, along with former NFL DB Mike Rumph. And it was a who’s who of future NFL prospects on the squad. In addition to Georgia DB Tyson Campbell, a possible top-50 pick, the Patriots featured Auburn WR Anthony Schwartz, Virginia Tech RB Khalil Herbert, Michigan TE Nick Eubanks, Florida CB Marco Wilson and Florida DT Tedarrell Slaton, among others.
Player comp: Byron Jones
Expected draft range: Top-15 pick