Over the years, the New England Patriots have had some success with players who have changed positions. The team turned Julian Edelman into a wide receiver after he played his college career as a quarterback. Gunner Olszewski is now a wide receiver and kick returner for the team, but he was a defensive back in college.
North Carolina inside linebacker Chazz Surratt could be the next in line with this concept. Surratt came to Chapel Hill as a quarterback, but after his sophomore season, he made the switch to linebacker and has seemingly found his stride.
When asked to project the Patriots’ first three selections in the 2021 NFL Draft, Pats’ Pulpit’s Brian M. Hines identified Surratt as an ideal selection in the third or fourth round.
There is no question the Patriots need help at linebacker after COVID-9 opt-outs and free agency ravaged the unit ahead of the 2020 season.
Follow the Heavy on Patriots Facebook page for the latest breaking news, rumors, and content!
What Surratt Brings to the Table
Having played college football as a quarterback, participated in position meetings for 2 years at a major university, there is a perspective Surratt has attained that most linebackers won’t have experienced.
Based on the season he had in 2019, there is some indication of that in Surratt’s performance. Over the course of his college career, Surratt had 12.5 sacks and 2 interceptions. Here is what Ian Cummings of Pro Football Network wrote about Surratt in his player profile:
Surratt immediately showed promise in his new role. In 2019, Surratt led the team with 115 total tackles, and also added 15.0 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, a forced fumble, an interception, and three pass deflections. He was named a first-team All-ACC honoree in his first season at linebacker. In 2020, he picked up where he left off. As a redshirt senior, Surratt showed continuous growth on the defensive side of the ball. He logged 91 tackles, six sacks, a forced fumble, an interception, and three pass deflections. He nearly matched his 2019 totals in two fewer games, earning All-American recognition for his play. It was after this season that Surratt opted out of his bowl game, and officially declared for the 2021 NFL Draft.
Take a look at some of his highlights from 2019:
Surratt is perhaps a little undersized at 6’3″ 230 pounds, and his position is still a bit new to him.
Having only 2 years of experience as a linebacker might be a deterrent for some teams. Also, Surratt is also going to be 24 in February. These are potential drawbacks, but there is seemingly no doubting his speed, ferocity, and instincts.
The Patriots Badly Need Linebackers
Ja’Whaun Bentley and Terez Hall wouldn’t appear to be long-term solutions at inside linebacker for the Patriots. Dont’a Hightower’s future is unknown, and that leaves a huge void. The Patriots drafted Cassh Maluia, but his development was slowed by injuries and growing pains in the NFL game.
While Surratt might not be the Patriots’ selection, there is no way they come away from April’s draft without at least two inside linebackers.
- Patriots Pro-Bowler Identified as Team’s Biggest Trade Chip
- Cam Newton’s Next Contract Could Be Huge 2-Year Deal: Report
- Patriots’ Potential Trade Partner for Bold Draft-Day Move Revealed
- Patriots Writer Makes Unpopular Prediction in Bold Mock Draft
- Patriots 2021 Draft Picks Revealed