The 2021 NFL Draft prospect is a unique linebacker who has tremendous upside at the next level.
The 2021 NFL Draft class is loaded with impressive talent at the linebacker position. Penn State’s Micah Parsons stands out as the top player at the position and a possible (if not likely) top-five pick. Alabama’s Dylan Moses is unlikely to fall far past Parsons, while guys like Missouri’s Nick Bolton, Michigan’s Cameron McGrone and LSU’s Jabril Cox all have exciting upside as well.
The guys mentioned above are all exciting 2021 NFL Draft prospects, but perhaps the most interesting linebacker in the class is Chazz Surratt out of North Carolina.
The 6-foot-2, 225-pound Surratt is coming off of his first season at the linebacker position. In 13 games on defense in 2019, Surratt piled up 115 total tackles (including 15 for loss) and 6.5 sacks. He was a stable presence in the middle of the field for North Carolina and was named first-team All-ACC for his play.
Surratt not only played linebacker for the first time in college last season, it was his first time on the defensive side of the ball altogether. Surratt was a four-star dual-threat quarterback prospect out of high school. After redshirting the 2016 season, Surratt started seven games at quarterback for UNC in 2017, showing limited upside and overall ability at the position. He was still listed as a quarterback in 2018 but barely saw the field for the Tar Heels.
Making the move to linebacker
Surratt made a full-time switch to linebacker last season and immediately showed impressive playmaking ability at the position. He is a smooth and explosive athlete who shows plenty of range at the position. Surratt changes directions extremely quickly and does a great job of dropping deep into coverage and making plays on the ball.
While Surratt is not the most natural tackler at this point in his career, he is an extremely physical player who is not afraid to mix it up on the inside. His competitive toughness stands out against the run as he consistently plays with a great sense of urgency in the middle of the field.
Surratt does have some less than ideal lapses in coverage, but more time at the position should significantly limit those occurrences. He clearly has great natural instincts at the linebacker position and understands what the offense is trying to do more than most linebackers due to his time at quarterback.
Overall, Surratt is an extremely athletic and explosive linebacker prospect who shows plenty of upside in coverage, in the blitz game and against the run. His natural instincts on the field are impressive and his 2021 NFL Draft value should only grow with more time at the linebacker position.