Patrick Surtain II is the pick SF 49ers need to make in 2021 NFL Draft

Patrick Surtain II #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images)
Patrick Surtain II #2 of the Alabama Crimson Tide (Photo by Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images) /

The SF 49ers would do well to pick the talented cornerback from Alabama, Patrick Surtain II.

While it’s still early to see how the 2021 NFL Draft will look in terms of positional talent, the SF 49ers look to be facing a considerable amount of secondary talent when they pick with their first-round selection.

With veteran cornerback Richard Sherman getting into the end years of his illustrious career, the search is on to see who will partner with Emmanuel Moseley, a restricted free agent, in the future.

Ahkello Witherspoon continues to tease the San Francisco fans with alternating bouts of stellar and then poor play, and the depth behind looks insufficient to be a long term starter down the line. Witherspoon has also been inactive, a healthy scratch over the Niners’ last three games.

But if the SF 49ers pick Patrick Surtain II, the talented cornerback out of Alabama, the team could solve that problem with one fell swoop. Surtain has been on an island at times for the Crimson Tide in 2020, as teams have found out very quickly that dire consequences happen if they throw the ball at him in games.

The SF 49ers are a team that demands a high level of play consistently from its secondary. The defense is predicated on rushing only the defensive line on a majority of plays and having the rest play coverage. If the quarterback has time to throw, it’s down to the secondary to make the play.

As a result, outside cornerbacks for the Niners are players who can excel in zone coverage and be physical in run defense. Surtain not only has these qualities, but has shown attributes to be a true shutdown corner not unlike Sherman has been in his career.

Surtain has the ideal measurables to fit into the 49ers system with his 6-foot-2, 203-pound frame. He isn’t the kind of player who can run with a speedy wide receivers like Tyreek Hill or Henry Ruggs, but he’s solid in coverage and plays big and physical while making plays on the ball.

Surtain has exactly the kind of attributes in terms of measurables, play style and mental ability to be a perfect understudy to Sherman. Surtain doesn’t have to start right away ideally, and Sherman can use the time to help him develop the finer points of the game at cornerback, as long as Sherman is re-signed (he should be), before the 49ers unleash the 2021 draftee in full.

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The secondary is an important position to have talent in, and Surtain could be the jewel of a loaded secondary class. The 49ers could do worse than to pick the talented Alabama corner, and have him pair with Moseley as the cornerback duo of the future for ideally the next decade.