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UNC Football: An early look at potential 2021 draftees

With the 2020 draft wrapping up on Saturday, we look forward to the potential 2021 Tar Heels that could go early in the draft.

Duke v North Carolina Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images

While the North Carolina Tar Heel football program continues to recruit at a high level, the 2020 NFL Draft was a rather uneventful weekend for the program. Only two Tar Heels heard their names called, Charlie Heck to the Texans, and Jason Strowbridge to the Dolphins.

But with the program ascending to new heights, there is potential that the 2021 NFL Draft has the potential to be a big one for the Tar Heels. The last time North Carolina had a big draft was 2017, where they had six different players selected, including the number two overall pick in Mitchell Trubisky.

Next year, there are several Tar Heels who could hear their names called, but nobody has a better chance of creeping into the first round than Chazz Surratt. The story of how Surratt turned from a quarterback to a linebacker has been told many times, but it still doesn’t get enough attention. Surratt became a first team All-ACC linebacker in one year at the position. He turned down a chance to enter the draft this year to play one more year at UNC. The athleticism is there, and there is no reason he can’t continue to develop and hear his name called on the first day of the Draft.

After Surratt, Dazz Newsome could be the second Tar Heel off the board. Newsome, who was just named Bleacher Report’s number one wide receiver in college football for next season, will have the benefit of being one of Sam Howell’s top targets yet again. If Howell’s numbers stay the same, or even make a leap, Newsome could put up even better numbers than last year.

There are several guys who could continue to improve into the 2020 season and find a way to get drafted. Some of the guys with the highest potential are Michael Carter, Javonte Williams, Tomon Fox and Myles Wolfolk. Of course, the list of guys that could get drafted is long, but for these guys it wouldn’t take as much to get sneak into the later days.

Carter and Williams will be the primary guys in the backfield again, except this year, Antonio Williams will not be there to take carries from them. Fox and Wolfolk will be two of the biggest leaders on defense, and Wolfolk could really improve his draft stock if he stays on the field. When he has played, he has been really good for the Tar Heels.

While this year was a down year for the Tar Heels in the draft, it won’t be long before the program gets back to pumping guys into the NFL. The incredible level of recruiting by Mack Brown and crew, paired with the development of guys in program have given the team a chance to be really good starting this year. That can only lead to seeing an influx of Tar Heels in the NFL Draft, assuming the players continue to put the work in.

Mack Brown is continuing where he left off after he left Chapel Hill last time. His work could make North Carolina the second strongest pipeline to the NFL in the Atlantic Coast Conference.