Linebacker Chazz Surratt became the first UNC defensive player and second Tar Heel overall selected in the NFL Draft.
Surratt was chosen with the No 15 pick of the third round, No. 78 overall, by the Minnesota Vikings.
Former college and NFL coach Jim Mora is impressed with Surratt’s potential.
“Amazing transformation,” he said. “I think it’s rare. I don’t if it’s been done the way he’s done it. The guy started at quarterback and is going to be drafted as a linebacker. He has tremendous upside.”
Mora broke down Surratt’s game.
“I’ll hit the negatives first, and there aren’t too many negatives,” he said. “Just a lack of experience and exposure at the linebacker position is going to hurt him a little bit early in his NFL career, but he’s going to get coached up. We know he’s extremely smart. We know he’s going to take to coaching and accelerate at the position very quickly.”
Mora looks at Surratt’s time running the offense as a positive.
“Having the mind of a quarterback really helps him as a defensive player. He has great football intelligence, an understanding of the game. He can diagnose what’s happening on offense and understand his function in the defense he’s playing,” Mora said.
Surratt has more positives than just his intelligence, though.
“He has the physical gifts,” he said. “The thing that’s so surprising, so encouraging is typically, quarterbacks aren’t known as the physically toughest guys on the field. I don’t know that’s always fair. We’re trying to protect them, always asking them to slide, run out of bounds, not take hits. This man is not only mentally tough, but he’s physically tough. He doesn’t ever quit. He’s never a cheek turner (on tackles). He’s there. I love that about him.”
So where does Surratt get drafted?
“I think he’s second-round value,” he said. “I think somebody’s going to take him in the second round just on upside, and I think he’s going to accelerate quickly. I’m excited to see what he does at the next level. Let him run. Cover him up so he’s not having to take on a lot of blocks. Bring him off the edge. Bring him up A-gap. I think he can be a really, really impressive player.”