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NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: LB Chazz Surratt

  • The Draft Network
  • December 27, 2020
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PROSPECT SUMMARY - CHAZZ SURRATT

Chazz Surratt came to North Carolina to play quarterback, where he started seven games as a redshirt freshman in 2017 and entered 2018 as the Tar Heels’ starter. His 2018 season was delayed, however, because of a four-game suspension because he sold team-issued sneakers. When he returned to the lineup, Surratt completed 4-of-10 passes for 10 yards and three interceptions before injuring his wrist, which required season-ending surgery. When his wrist healed and he was ready to return to the field, discussions between Surratt and then-head coach Larry Fedora began regarding a switch to the defensive side of the football. Surratt considered a transfer to another university to continue as a quarterback but he met with newly hired head coach Mack Brown regarding his status with the program and he decided to stay. Surratt made it clear to Brown that it was his goal to play in the NFL and both agreed his best course was to make the transition to linebacker. Surratt’s first year at linebacker was in 2019 and he was outstanding. Appearing in all 13 games with 11 starts, Surratt was a First-Team All-ACC selection and runner-up for ACC Defensive Player of the Year. With 115 tackles, Surratt led the Tar Heels and finished second in the ACC with 88 tackles per game. Surratt logged 15 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, and 10 quarterback hurries. He took another step forward in 2020, becoming more polished when it comes to coverage drops, pursuit angles, and tackling. Surratt is an exciting package of size, mobility, and physicality, but there are times studying his tape when you are reminded that he is still new to the position. Surratt will need to continue developing at the position and if he does, he has the makings of a starting pursuit-style linebacker that can make plays on every down. 

Ideal Role: Pursuit-style 4-3 outside linebacker that brings value on every down.

Scheme Fit: 4-3 outside linebacker.

FILM EVALUATION

Written by Joe Marino 

Games watched: South Carolina (2019), Clemson (2019), Virginia (2019), Virginia Tech (2019), Syracuse (2020), Notre Dame (2020), Miami (2020), NC State (2020) 

Best Game Studied: Syracuse (2020) 

Worst Game Studied: Virginia Tech (2019) 

Tackling: Surratt significantly improved his tackling skills when comparing 2019 to 2020. While he’s never been adverse to contact, his angels were sloppy in 2019 and it didn’t set him up for success to finish with consistency. That improved greatly in 2020 and Surratt showcased a consistent ability to finish by playing more under control, arriving on time, wrapping up, and bringing his feet through contact.  

Football IQ: A converted quarterback in 2019, Surratt is still new to the position and there are times that it shows. While his processing and play-diagnosing skills improved in 2020, there are times he is moved out of his run fits with tardy/incorrect responses. He did show improved comfort in zone coverage drops when it comes to anticipating and squeezing routes in 2020. 

Competitive Toughness: Surratt is a tremendous competitor and he’s a physical player. His willingness to stick at North Carolina and switch to linebacker after playing quarterback speaks to his competitive toughness. He is willing to take on contact and he’s an urgent player in pursuit. 

Pass Coverage Ability: Surratt has the movement skills needed to reach his landmarks in zone coverage and match up with running backs and tight ends in man coverage. He demonstrated improved route-anticipation skills in 2020. His quarterback background shows up in zone drops where he often reads the backfield and fluidly works into throwing lanes.

Run Defending: Surratt has some impressive moments triggering downhill and stopping the run where he processes quickly, commits, and finishes. When he’s kept clean and can fill a window, Surratt closes rapidly and is a good finisher. Some of his angles need to be tighter so that he doesn’t inadvertently widen gaps/create cutback opportunities. 

Block Deconstruction: Surratt’s technique for taking on blocks and disengaging improved when comparing 2019 to 2020. He is on the leaner side so there are times he gets worked out of his feet and he would be well-served to add more functional strength and play with more consistent leverage when taking on blocks. North Carolina gave him regular opportunities to blitz and he needs to do a better job having a plan to defeat blocks. 

Lateral Mobility: Surratt has outstanding range and mobility. He has easy movement skills working toward the sideline and he closes in a hurry. He’s lateral pursuit reveals natural mobility without segmentation. 

Flexibility: Surratt is springy and agile. He has fluid change of direction skills with easy transitions. He can carry speed through tight angles and finish outside of his frame. 

Leadership: Surratt was once the starting quarterback at North Carolina and he became a team captain at linebacker which speaks to his leadership traits in multiple ways. Morphing from quarterback to a top linebacker prospect in a short period of time speaks to his work ethic and commitment to football. His multi-sport background shows up on the football field and it’s obvious that he loves to compete. 

Versatility: Surratt has the makings of an every-down linebacker in the NFL. He’s quickly become experienced in man coverage, zone coverage, rushing the passer, and, of course, defending the run. For an off-ball linebacker, there aren’t any restrictions to how he can help a defense.  

Prospect Comparison: Shaq Thompson (2015 NFL Draft, Carolina Panthers) 

SCOUT GRADES

TDN Consensus: 74.75/100

Joe Marino: 74.500/100

Kyle Crabbs: 73.50/100

Jordan Reid: 74.00/100

Drae Harris: 77.00/100

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