Three Tar Heels had their football dreams become reality on Friday evening as they were drafted by an NFL franchise.
Williams was the third player selected on Friday night. He was drafted in a spot that many saw as a possibility, but not to the same team. The Atlanta Falcons came into the night holding pick no. 35, which seemed like a logical landing spot for Williams. However, the Denver Broncos came calling because they wanted to trade up to draft the Tar Heel running back. And so the single-season touchdown leader in Carolina history is the 35th pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, on the high end of his projected range (34-68).
It's never a bad time to be reminded of this run against Miami. It was everywhere on social media on Friday night when Williams was drafted. The Broncos are certainly aware of what they're getting:
Similar to Javonte Williams, Surratt also had the experience of being drafted on the high end of the range where he typically landed in mock drafts (74-131). Surratt, the 15th pick of the third round and 78th overall, is headed to Minnesota to join the Vikings. As you are likely aware, Chazz's brother Sage, a wide receiver from Wake Forest, is also in the 2021 draft, but will have to wait until Saturday.
While Surratt and Williams were both drafted in the high end of their predicted range, Brown stayed on the board much longer than anyone imagined before being selected four picks after Surratt. The Washington Football team selected Brown as the 19th pick of the third round and 82nd overall. In mock drafts, Brown was as high as 41 and as low as 67 (with one outlier at 121), so the fall to 82 is curious. The "slight" is an opportunity for Brown to go out and continue to prove himself on the field.
Following Friday night's activities, ESPN's Mel Kiper, Jr. listed all three Tar Heels in the "picks he liked" from tonight's action. Here's what he had to say about each:
"Denver got a punishing runner in Javonte Williams (No. 35) at the top of Round 2, and I wouldn't be surprised if he ended up as the best tailback in this class. He's that good. He had 723 yards after first contact last season, the second-most among FBS rushers. Williams can help in the passing game, too. He needs to play early and often for the Broncos."
"The Vikings had four picks in the third round, and while quarterback Kellen Mond (No. 66) will get the pub, the one I liked most is the former quarterback Chazz Surratt, who is a really productive converted linebacker. He should play early."
"Wide receiver Dyami Brown (No. 82) was getting some top-40 buzz over the past few weeks, but he lasted all the way until the middle of the third round. Washington got a fast deep threat to run go routes for Ryan Fitzpatrick next season."
Michael Carter Update
Unfortunately, noticeably missing from the "already drafted" category is RB Michael Carter, whom most thought would be taken in either round two or three on Friday. Instead, Carter will have to wait to hear his name called on Saturday.
Curiously, since the Falcons passed on Williams on Friday, Atlanta could actually be a landing spot for the other Tar Heel running back in the draft. The Falcons have picks three and nine starting off the fourth round on Saturday and might pull the trigger on Carter since he is still on the board.
According to ESPN, Carter is the fourth-best overall available prospect remaining heading into Saturday, and the top running back.
Dazz Newsome Update
In all likelihood, Newsome will have to wait a good while longer on Saturday before hearing his name called. He is listed as ESPN's 26th best remaining wide receiver. The chances are good that Newsome is drafted, but late-round picks are sometimes better off as free agents because they can choose their own landing spot and fit based on teams that are interested.
Day three of the 2021 NFL Draft will commence at noon ET on ESPN.
Stay tuned to All Tar Heels for updates.
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