Given the choice between drafting an elite-level quarterback and an elite-level cornerback with the No. 1 overall pick in the NFL Draft, any team in that position will take the quarterback.
As in-demand as cornerbacks have become in today's NFL, the QB is still the most valued position on the field.
But the cornerbacks are competing with edge rushers and left tackles for the next spot in the ranking. Look no further than the 2020 NFL Draft. The first four picks in order were QB Joe Burrow, DE Chase Young, CB Jeff Okudah and OT Andrew Thomas.
The 2021 NFL Draft will play out in similar fashion. At the top of the board are a couple of quarterbacks: Clemson's Trevor Lawrence and Ohio State's Justin Fields.
Most mock drafts then predict a run of defensive and offensive linemen.
And somewhere in most NFL Draft top 10's is the name of the most promising cornerback prospect in the draft: Alabama junior Patrick Surtain II.
Listed at 6-foot-2 and 202 pounds, Surtain is the son of former NFL cornerback Patrick Surtain Sr., a Southern Miss product who played 11 years in the league with the Miami Dolphins and Kansas City Chiefs. He was a three-time Pro Bowl and former All-Pro pick.
The junior Surtain was a 2020 preseason All-America choice and is on the Jim Thorpe Award watch list for the nation's top defensive back.
As a sophomore last season, he recorded 42 tackles, two interceptions, eight pass breakups and three forced fumbles. Through five games this season for the undefeated Crimson Tide, Surtain has 18 tackles, five pass breakups and a fumble recovery. Alabama should be in contention for a national championship, as usual, meaning Surtain could showcase his game on the biggest stage in college football before he goes pro.
The way the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft is shaping up, Surtain could wind up on corner-needy teams like the Philadelphia Eagles, Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Minnesota Vikings, Atlanta Falcons and Detroit Lions, among others.
The Cowboys rank last-place in the league in points allowed. The Falcons rank second-to-last in passing yards allowed and total yards allowed. The Jaguars aren't far behind in either of those categories.
Teams in position to have a top-10 pick in the NFL Draft usually have needs across the board on both sides of the ball, but those two in particular could use a defensive back with Surtain's particular set of skills.Published 27 Oct 2020, 12:23 IST