The first three weeks of the 2021 NFL season have passed and this year's rookie class has already begun making waves. One of the players who's looked more like a veteran than a first-year pro is Denver Broncos cornerback Patrick Surtain II.
Surtain has been excellent through his first three games for the Broncos, helping his team to a perfect 3-0 record. But surprisingly, his efforts weren't enough to be named the NFL's Defensive Rookie of the Month.
NFL Rookie of the Month
Instead, that honor went to another rookie cornerback who's the son of a former NFL legend: Asante Samuel Jr. of the Los Angeles Chargers.
Samuel has been tremendous too, but Surtain just isn't getting the respect that he deserves.
Surtain has started in two of the three games he's played this year, recording 9 total tackles, 2 passes defended and an interception. Meanwhile, Samuel has recorded 10 total tackles, 4 passes defended and a pair of interceptions through his first three games.
But Surtain's statistics are even more impressive because he only played 26% of Denver's Week 1 snaps and didn't do anything noteworthy with that playing time.
And things get even more impressive once you dig deeper into Surtain's numbers. The 21-year-old has allowed a 10.7 passer rating in man coverage, according to Pro Football Focus. That means quarterbacks would have a significantly better rating if they threw the ball in the dirt every play (39.6) instead of targeting the rookie CB.
The main difference is that Samuel has played 195 defensive snaps this season while Surtain has played just 122. The fact that their statistics are as similar as they are shows just how much more respect the latter deserves. Expect the Broncos' rookie to close the gap as the season progresses.
Patrick Surtain Defensive Rookie of the Year Odds
Surtain was FanDuel Sportsbook's +600 favorite to be named the 2021 NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year back in August. His odds have now improved to +400 after the first three weeks of the season, tying him for first place alongside Dallas Cowboys' linebacker Micah Parsons. Notably, Samuel checks in at +1400 (T-No. 5).
Regardless, Broncos fans have to be happy that they landed a stud with the No. 9 pick in the NFL Draft.
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Devon Platana is not a FanDuel employee. The views expressed in his articles are the author's alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of FanDuel.