Eagles Draft Profiles: Linebacker Chazz Surratt
Following the initial chaos of the NFL offseason, everyone’s eyes now begin to turn towards the 2021 NFL Draft. For the Eagles, it is one of the most important in recent memory. While many fans are intrigued by the sixth pick, the later rounds are just as important for an Eagles team lacking so much depth on each side of the ball.
For the first profile, we have one of the players that intrigues me the most in this draft in linebacker Chazz Surratt from the University of North Carolina. Surratt has one of the most exciting stories for a player in this year’s draft. In 2016, Chazz was recruited by the Tar Heels as a three-star quarterback. In his redshirt freshman season, Surratt started for the Tar Heels in several games but lacked the skill and struggled with injury.
Following two seasons at QB, Surratt changed both positions and sides of the field, transitioning to linebacker for UNC for his junior year. In his two seasons at LB, Chazz was incredibly impressive, and tallied over 200 tackles and 12.5 sacks in 24 games.
The Eagles need a severe overhaul at linebacker this season. Under new defensive coordinator Jonathan Gannon, the hope is that he will value LBs far more than Schwartz did. Alex Singleton is a free agent, and Nate Gerry is dealing with a significant Achilles injury. Surratt likely would need some time as a project backer, but the upside is promising. Many would think that taking another developmental linebacker might be stupid after Davion Taylor, but the Eagles now have an extra third-round pick from the Carson Wentz trade.
Surratt’s biggest strength is he’s a tremendous north-south linebacker. If he’s in coverage and has an open line at the QB without any zone responsibilities, Surratt can close on him in an instant. He’s fantastic at tackling players in open field situations and keeping plays contained. His speed and athleticism are his most prominent traits, and while his tackling is good, it could be better. Surratt isn’t easily fooled by jukes or any skill move and maintains composure in his pursuits.
The biggest concern is his ability to cover in the passing game. His reads aren’t fully there yet and he often uses his athleticism to make up for it. If the Eagles run a cover two like speculated, it can simplify those schemes for Surratt to grow and build from. His frame is perfect for a linebacker at six foot two 225 pounds; just continuing to get stronger is critical.
If the Eagles go offense-heavy early on, Surratt would be a reasonable option on defense in the middle of the draft. With his energy and motor, he can work out many of his issues and possibly be a hidden gem for the Eagles in the 2021 Draft.
Mandatory Credit: University of North Carolina