Patrick Surtain Sr played cornerback for 11 years in the NFL. Over that span, he was named an All-Pro twice and was selected to the Pro Bowl three times while racking up 37 career interceptions. Needless to say, he knows a thing or two about coverage.
These days, his son, Patrick Surtain II, is the most sought-after cornerback in the upcoming NFL Draft, and most have him going to the Dallas Cowboys at 10. In an appearance on ESPN Radio's Keyshawn, JWill, and Zubin on Friday, he discussed how going to America's Team would be the right move for his son.
“It's the Seattle old defense,” Surtain said. “I know the defensive coordinator, who was in Seattle when they had the Legion of Boom. So I think it's a lot of misconceptions with that defense, about being a man-in-the-zone structure defense. I think, for the most part, when I watch, I saw Richard Sherman and those guys play man on the outside. Obviously, it's changeup to play the Cover 3 with them bailing and everything. But with their physicality, with him and Diggs' physicality, I can see some similarities between Sherman and those guys on the outside. But I saw them play a lot of press, press man and the offset was some Cover 3. So I think he can do it all, man. That's why I think he's highly coveted because he's an all-around corner. He can play man. He comes up and can tackle. He can play in the slot if need be. So I think he'll be a perfect fit.”
During his days at Alabama, the younger Surtain was as consistent as you can get. He racked 116 tackles, four interceptions, 24 pass breakups, four forced fumbles, a fumble recovery, and a defensive touchdown.
Surtain is good in man or off coverage, understands route concepts, and has excellent ball skills. Since 2019, he only allowed three touchdowns on 968 coverage snaps at Alabama according to Pro Football Focus.
Speaking of that season, Surtain excelled playing with his former Crimson Tide teammate, Trevon Diggs. While Diggs received First-Team All-SEC and Third-Team All-American honors, Surtain had arguably his best collegiate campaign. He registered 42 tackles, eight pass breakups, two interceptions, three forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. This put his name at the top of the list of the best cornerbacks in the nation for 2020 and made him an early favorite to be selected in the first round of the 2021 NFL draft.
Diggs had quite the endorsement for Surtain back in December.
“That's my little brother,” Diggs said. “He's a great person, great player, competitive. He has everything that you look for in a corner. I'm really excited for him and what his journey is, and hopefully, I don't know, we'll see. But I'm really excited for him and wherever he ends up and wherever his journey takes him. He's a real good person, a real good player, so whoever gets him is lucky.”
On a video call about three weeks ago, Surtain returned the favor by saying it would be a “special feeling” to play alongside Diggs again.
“Diggs, he's my brother for life,” Surtain said. “Just lining up with him again, it would be a special feeling. It would be like college again, of course. We understand each other a lot, just going through our years through college. It'd just be like another day here in Alabama.”
Surtain's father thinks it's the right move for the Cowboys to draft his son. Now, the only thing to do is to wait and see if Jerry Jones feels that way.