Chazz Surratt
Can Chazz Surratt be a first-round draft selection in this year’s NFL Draft? (Andy Mead/ISI Photos/Getty Images)

Just two seasons ago, Chazz Surratt was the starting quarterback for the North Carolina Tar Heels. However, it was common knowledge that freshman recruit Sam Powell would take that job the next season. Instead of settling for a backup role, Surratt made the transition to inside linebacker. Fast forward, Surratt is one of the best linebackers in the country and may very well be on his way to hearing his name called in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft.

In my preseason positional rankings, I listed Surratt as the sixth-best draft-eligible linebacker. Surratt needed to improve his tackling consistency and develop some more refined pass-rushing moves. Through two games, Surratt has seventeen tackles and has not missed one. Additionally, he has logged three sacks and has one of the best pass rusher win rates in all of Division I football. Surratt has gotten the job done in coverage and is a massive reason behind UNC’s success early in the season.

This brings us to the question; if Chazz Surratt continues to dominate the ACC this season, should he be a first-round draft pick? The answer is yes. Surratt brings a blend of athleticism and intelligence that is so unique to the position. As a former quarterback, Surratt is excellent at reading the offense and picking up signals from the opposing quarterback detailing where the ball will end up. He is a natural leader and an intense competitor who always wants to make the big play.

There were four linebackers selected in the first round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Following Micah Parsons and Dylan Moses, Chazz Surratt can be the third linebacker chosen this year. If his production maintains, he should be a first-round selection. Playoff teams such as the Chiefs and Packers need a middle linebacker. Surratt is an excellent option for those teams.

Surratt is putting up monster numbers in just his second season playing the position. With room to develop, he has one of the highest ceilings out of any defensive prospect. Imagine what a good defensive coordinator could do with Surratt in just a mere one or two seasons. He has the potential to become what the Cardinals intend for Isaiah Simmons to be. Surratt is a top player in college right now, so he is a first round-caliber prospect for the 2021 NFL Draft.