North Carolina linebacker Chazz Surratt has been drafted by the Minnesota Vikings in the third round of the NFL Draft. With this pick, Surratt becomes the second Tar Heel selected in this year’s draft, joining Javonte Williams (for now).
Surratt, a two-time first team All-ACC selection at linebacker, resurrected his football career by switching to the defensive side of the ball after two injury-plagued year as a quarterback. Under Mack Brown and Jay Bateman’s tutelage, Surratt developed into one of the most productive linebackers in the conference and nation, helping turn a defensive laughing stock into a respectable unit.
In his two seasons as a linebacker, Surratt totaled 202 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, and 12.5 sacks. As a junior, his 115 tackles was 19th best in the nation and 2nd in the ACC. As a senior, his six sacks were 10th-best in the ACC, and his 91 total tackles was 24th best in the country and 6th in the ACC. His production and quick grasp of the position gave steadied a position group that only had one truly effective season over the last decade.
He also grabbed two interceptions, forced two fumbles, and recovered two fumbles in his final two seasons. His goal line interception against Duke in 2019 cemented his position in UNC lore, on what may eventually be seen as one of the most important plays in UNC history. That may seem like an exaggeration, but it ended a three game losing streak to the Blue Devils and was UNC’s first win over an in-state FBS opponent since 2015 — a streak that spanned almost four seasons and nine opponents. UNC has not lost to an in-state opponent since that victory.
Still a little raw, Surratt has the athleticism to develop into a productive player at the next level if he continues to develop at the same pace as the past few years. However, immediate success may prove to be elusive as he continues to learn the nuances of the position while adjusting to the NFL. If the Vikings are patient and focus on developing his untapped potential, he’ll prove to be a solid fixture in future seasons. Here is our draft profile from a couple weeks ago.
Congratulations to Chazz, and best of luck to the newest Tar Heel in the NFL!