Where does Denver Broncos' Patrick Surtain go in Year 2? 'Pro Bowl ... for sure'

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- When teammates, coaches and even opponents discuss Denver Broncos cornerback Pat Surtain II, they talk about his rare combination of talent, maturity and an easy-to-see potential.

So it's not surprising when Surtain, 22, snatches a Russell Wilson pass out of the air during a practice as he has done often during the team's offseason work. And there is little hesitation about how much impact Surtain will have in the team's new defensive scheme.

"For sure, a Pro Bowl, a Pro Bowl year for sure," is how cornerback Ronald Darby put it earlier this offseason. "He's more comfortable as well, knows the defense. You know what he can do on the field, we've all seen it."

Surtain was named to the Pro Football Writers of America All-Rookie team last season with 15 starts, 58 tackles and four interceptions. He surrendered one completion longer than 20 yards.

He was consistently lauded for his level-headed approach to the game, high-end work ethic and rare movement skills for a 6-foot-2, 202-pound cornerback. Hall of Fame cornerback Champ Bailey said: "People tell me he reminds them of me, and I'm like, 'He reminds me of me, too.'"

Surtain will be a key part of first-year defensive coordinator Ejiro Evero's plans this season. And safety Kareem Jackson believes at least one step for Surtain to make along the developmental curve will come with the virtue of football patience.

The perpetually even-keeled Surtain can play with even a little more calm in some situations, Jackson said, especially if he can't immediately jam wide receivers at the line of scrimmage. Jackson, a 13-year veteran, spent the first nine years of his career at cornerback before playing the last three at safety for the Broncos.

"I say this all the time about Pat, a guy with that size, speed, and to still have the technique that he has is rare -- to be that young anyway," Jackson said. "I know for him he wants to get better in every aspect. ... I sit next to him in the meetings, so just little stuff I see, I try to help him. It's been night-and-day difference from his rookie year, and he had a hell of a rookie year."

Jackson said he sees a "more patient" Surtain when receivers are clustered to his side of the field and Surtain can't simply disrupt the wideout across from him following the snap, "when he can't just put hands on them."

"Patience as in just trusting your instincts," Surtain said. "Don't be in a rush for everything. Just stay true to your technique and trust it -- your ability. The more patient you are, the more plays you’ll make."

For the most part, the Broncos kept their secondary intact. They finished last season third in scoring defense and eighth in pass defense. Darby and Surtain will be the expected starters on the outside with Jackson and Justin Simmons starting at safety. It gives Evero a bit of a head start in installing some coverages given the experience of the group overall.

The addition expected to get significant playing time in the defense is cornerback K'Waun Williams, who signed in free agency after five seasons with the San Francisco 49ers. Williams, if the offseason work holds true through training camp later this summer, figures to be the nickel cornerback.

He'll joining a veteran group of players already treating the second-year Surtain as if he is a veteran.

"Not a lot of guys coming out of college, especially at corner, and get thrown into a starting role and plays as good as he did," Darby said. "To me, he had a Pro Bowl year last year. I know he's going to continue to build on to that."

Or as Jackson put it: "I'm definitely looking forward to seeing what he does on Sundays."