Sam Weaver The Lead
The Broncos' 2021 draft class is looking more and more like a home run for General Manager George Paton and the Broncos organization.
In April, Denver drafted CB Pat Surtain II, RB Javonte Williams, G/C Quinn Meinerz, ILB Baron Browning, S Caden Sterns and OLB Jonathon Cooper, all of whom played a role in Sunday's victory.
"Six of [Paton's] inaugural draft picks have become starters for these '21 Broncos," The Gazette's Woody Paige wrote. "Two are in the race for defensive rookie of the year and offensive rookie of the year."
The rookie in the race for DROY is Surtain, who boasted the best game of his career on Sunday, recording an interception and a pick-six against the Chargers. After his performance in Week 12, Paige believes Surtain has the potential to become as good as another famous Broncos corner.
"The latest draft, and first one with Paton in command, gave Denver Surtain, who ended up in opposite end zones Sunday with interceptions," Paige wrote. "He saved a touchdown with one interception, ran 70 yards with the other interception for a touchdown. He could develop into another Louis Wright."
Paige also has high praise for the rest of Denver's rookie class, starting with Williams.
"Williams could become the best Broncos' running back selection since Terrell Davis, Sterns could be a Steve Atwater type; Cooper could end up being an excellent successor to Miller; Browning could end up as one of the superior inside linebackers the Broncos have drafted over the past half century, and Meinerz, with his shirt off or his jersey on, is a ferocious offensive lineman-in-waiting who already has played in eight games and started two in his first year," Paige wrote.
All in all, the Broncos' draft class "can be impactful and important for the Broncos for years," according to Paige.
And with the first 12 weeks of the season behind us, Paige believes the Broncos' draft deserves a top grade.
"If the draft grade were redone after the dominating performance against the Chargers when the six rookies contributed significantly, the Broncos and Paton would receive an 'A-plus' for this distinctive collection," Paige wrote.
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Surtain continues to show the Broncos that the first-round pick used on him in April was well spent.
Surtain had a monster game vs. the Chargers on Sunday, recording two interceptions, including his first career pick-six. But Surtain wasn't just a big-play machine in Week 12 - he was also lockdown in coverage, allowing only three catches for 25 yards (along with two passes defensed and two interceptions) against the Chargers.
"Surtain allowed just 25 yards in his coverage on six targets and nabbed two interceptions," Pro Football Focus' Seth Galina wrote.
Surtain's explosive performance against the Chargers also etched his name in the Denver history books, as he became the first Broncos rookie ever with a pick-six in a multi-interception game.