Reports from Denver Broncos training camp suggest that cornerback Patrick Surtain II has ascended to another level. It could be time to ask whether Surtain might be the best player on Denver’s roster.
Hear me out.
When you think of the teams that are winning Super Bowls, most of the time, the perception is that the best player on those squads has been the quarterback. However, in recent years, some say it’s not as vital as it once was.
In the last 11 years, you would have an excellent case for saying that the best player on most Super Bowl-winning teams hasn’t been the quarterback, and the ones that did, had Tom Brady.
When it comes to the Broncos, there’s a triumvirate vying for consideration as the best player on the team — the aforementioned Surtain, safety Justin Simmons, and, of course, Russell Wilson. Broncos fans who follow the team closely won’t be surprised to see Surtain, the team’s former No. 9 overall draft pick, on this list.
And by the end of this upcoming season, we could very quickly see national media putting Surtain atop the rankings as the league’s best defensive back.
So do the Broncos need Wilson to be their best player to be genuine Super Bowl contenders? The short answer is no.
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In the wake of the Broncos’ Super Bowl 50 triumph, a team with a great defense and competent quarterback play can, ostensibly, win a championship. However, the long answer to the question is a little more nuanced.
You can win a Super Bowl with a fantastic defense and good quarterback play. But we have never truly seen a defense-led dynasty in the NFL without a top-tier quarterback at the helm. If the Broncos want to win multiple Super Bowls over the next decade, it must be because of Wilson.
So regardless of how good Surtain becomes, this team will only go as far as Wilson takes it over the next several years. Wilson might not be the best player on the team this year, but he’s still the most important. So long as he plays at an elite level, the Broncos will be over the moon to have acquired him via trade.
This is an excellent thing for the Broncos. If Wilson and Simmons can play to their potential, and then you add Surtain becoming one of the league’s best corners, it won’t matter who the best player is. That triumvirate could become the three-headed beast that leads Denver back to winning Super Bowls, and all the Broncos would need around them are some great role players, which this current team has in spades, and a few others who are already stars and could break into this discussion in the future.
It’s going to be an exciting year in the Mile High City.
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