In Mack Brown’s second season in Chapel Hill, UNC found themselves in a three-way tie for third place in the ACC. Finishing the regular season with an 8-3 record, things did not go well in their Orange Bowl bid. Facing off against Texas A&M, the Tar Heels got outrun, losing 41-27. Despite their disappointing end to the season, there are quite a few North Carolina prospects making waves among 2021 NFL Draft circles. With North Carolina’s 2021 Pro Day upon us, let’s highlight the key players to keep an eye on.
When is North Carolina’s Pro Day?
The 2021 pro day for the North Carolina Tar Heels will take place on March 29.
Top North Carolina prospects working out
A North Carolina Native, RB Javonte Williams failed to attract top-tier programs coming out of high school. However, his hometown school, UNC, extended an offer to the three-star recruit. In a rotational role during his freshman year, Williams compiled 224 rushing yards and 5 touchdowns on just 43 carries.
He gained more footing as a sophomore in 2019, playing in 13 games for the Tar Heels. The RB carried the rock 166 times for 933 yards and 5 touchdowns. Williams will be competing with Najee Harris and Travis Etienne for RB1 in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Williams blasts onto the scene
No one anticipated Williams’ 2020 breakout into one of North Carolina’s best 2021 prospects. In just 11 games, he racked up 1,140 yards and 19 touchdowns on the ground. Williams showcased his versatility, adding 25 receptions for 305 yards and 3 more scores. Making his numbers even more impressive, Williams saw 7 fewer attempts than the previous season.
Currently ranked as the 61st overall player on Pro Football Network’s Chief Draft Analyst Tony Pauline’s 2021 big board, Williams has complicated the conversation at the top of the RB class.
“Williams is a bruising ball carrier who doles out a lot of punishment, running with an aggressive style and consistently finding ways to pick up yardage. He’s best running downhill, but I fully expect Williams will break in with the first team at the next level if put in the proper system.”
A hard and physical runner, Williams will do anything in his power to gain the extra yard. North Carolina’s 2021 Pro Day will be significant for the prospect as there are questions regarding his speed. A solid day of testing for Williams can solidify his position in the early half of Day 2. According to PFN Draft Analyst Ian Cummings, best fits for the North Carolina prospect include the Dolphins, Steelers, Falcons, 49ers, and Cardinals.
A four-star recruit hailing from Charlotte, North Carolina, WR Dyami Brown received offers from high-profile schools such as Alabama, Florida, Michigan, Ohio State, Oklahoma, and Oregon. Yet, like Williams, Brown chose to play for his hometown Tar Heels. The WR saw action immediately in his freshman year, playing in nine games during the 2018 season.
Brown begins to emerge
Brown earned a larger role in 2019, right alongside the emergence of North Carolina QB Sam Howell. In 12 games, the electric wideout hauled in 51 passes for 1,034 yards and 12 touchdowns, earning third-team All-ACC honors.
Brown picked up where he left off in 2020, compiling 55 catches for 1,099 yards and 8 touchdowns. This time receiving national recognition, he garnered first-team All-ACC merits and was named a semifinalist for the Biletnikoff Award.
Per Pauline, “Brown has displayed himself as a legitimate vertical threat in the North Carolina offense the past two years, as he’s a receiver who consistently comes away with big plays down the field. He needs to fill out his frame, but Brown has all the tools necessary to develop into a No. 2 wideout at the next level.”
Brown stretches the field considerably well, averaging 18.7 yards per catch during his time at North Carolina. A smart route runner with solid footwork, he is one of the best deep threats in the draft.
While he is not anywhere near the top of the class, a strong showing at North Carolina’s 2021 Pro Day could solidify the prospect’s third-round ranking. His measurements at his weigh-in will definitely stir some conversation. According to Cummings, best fits for Brown include the Rams, Saints, Chiefs, and Chargers.
A four-star athlete in the class of 2016, Chazz Surratt experienced quite the road to linebacker. Originally recruited as a dual-threat quarterback, Surratt redshirted his true freshman season behind Mitchell Trubisky. Surratt saw some action at QB for North Carolina in 2017, leading the team with 1,342 passing yards and 13 touchdowns. He would not win the starting job in 2018 and appeared in just one game.
Following Brown’s return to North Carolina in 2019 and the emergence of Howell, Surratt chose a different route to see the field. He switched sides of the ball to linebacker, leading the team with 115 total tackles, including 15.0 tackles for loss, 6.5 sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception. Surratt earned first-team All-ACC honors in his first season on defense.
Surratt shines in his new position
The redshirt junior continued his dominance in 2020, registering 91 tackles, 6 sacks, 1 forced fumble, and 1 interception in two fewer games.
Pauline stated, “Surratt was a consistent playmaking linebacker for North Carolina the past two years and is a complete three-down defender who is effective pursuing the run or covering the pass. He’ll be downgraded because of average size and play speed, yet Surratt offers starting potential in the proper system.”
Thanks to his experience at the quarterback position, Surratt possesses play recognition ability to disrupt opposing offenses. Although there is a high upside, Surratt is still new to the defensive side of the ball. With plenty of room to grow, Surratt is a bit of a gamble in early rounds. According to Cummings, best fits for the LB include the Browns, Eagles, and Rams.
In spite of owning a Day 2 grade, Surratt can boost his draft stock at North Carolina’s 2021 Pro Day.
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