The Minnesota Vikings selected one of the NFL draft's most unusual prospects in North Carolina linebacker Chazz Surratt at pick No. 78 in Friday's third round.
Surratt (6-foot-2, 229 pounds) took a highly unique path to the NFL in making a switch from quarterback to linebacker halfway through his college career.
Once the Tar Heels' starting quarterback, he decided to make the move in the weeks following a wrist injury, suffered while trying to make a tackle on a pick-six he'd thrown against the Miami Hurricanes in 2018, that ended his season. He earned a starting role beginning in 2019 and flourished at the position, leading the Tar Heels in tackles (115), 15 of them for losses, and 6.5 sacks. Surratt played inside linebacker at UNC but has the speed, blitz ability and coverage skills to operate outside as well. However, his instincts for linebacker remains a work in progress due to lack of experience.
"He's a fluid mover, a fluid athlete … (and) he's got some physicality to him and a little bit of thump downhill," NFL Network draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah said on the broadcast of Surratt, who was one of four Vikings selected in the third round, including quarterback Kellen Mond.
NFL Media draft analyst Lance Zierlein believes a weakside position could be ideal for Surratt initially, where he could play more on reaction and would have less to process.
Former San Diego Chargers LB Pat Sapp, of Clemson, is the most notable modern example of a player who made a QB-to-LB switch in college and went on to be drafted. Sapp was a second-round pick of the Chargers in 1996.
Surratt's brother, Sage, is also a 2021 draft prospect as a wide receiver from Wake Forest. Sage Surratt would go undrafted, but is signing with the Detroit Lions, a source tells NFL Network's Tom Pelissero.