Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest – NFL Draft Player Profile

A little healthy brotherly competition is never a bad thing, and the 2021 NFL Draft has plenty of that. Wake Forest wide receiver Sage Surratt will battle with brother Chazz Surratt to be the first sibling selected in the NFL Draft. The elder Surratt might have the edge, but Sage Surratt is a talented prospect in his own right.

Sage Surratt NFL Draft Profile

  • Position: Wide Receiver
  • School: Wake Forest
  • Current Year: Redshirt Senior
  • Height: 6’2 1/2″
  • Weight: 209 pounds
  • Wingspan: 79″
  • Arm: 32″
  • Hand: 9″

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Tony Pauline’s Sage Surratt Scouting Report

Positives: Large, sure-handed possession receiver who has not played football since his injury in November 2019. Tracks the pass in the air, effectively times receptions, and displays soft hands. Reliable, possesses outstanding focus and concentration, and extends to snatch the ball away from his frame.

Gets vertical in a crowd fighting to come away with the difficult catch, makes the reception with defenders draped on him, and plays to his size. Fights with his hands to separate from opponents. Displays terrific awareness in his game. Solid downfield blocker.

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Negatives: Possesses limited speed and quickness. Shows no burst in his game. Must return from a significant shoulder injury.

Analysis: Surratt is a reliable, dependable pass catcher with outstanding size and hands. He comes with limited speed and quickness and will struggle to separate at the next level, but Surratt should stand out running underneath routes and as a red zone threat.

Sage Surratt Player Profile

One category in which Sage Surratt exceeds his brother is positional familiarity. While Chazz was a quarterback in high school, Sage was still a wide receiver — and a good one.

He played football and basketball, but the younger Surratt was a legendary pass catcher for Lincolnton High School in North Carolina. Over the course of his career, he caught 348 passes for 5,626 yards and 73 touchdowns. In his final season, Surratt amassed 2,104 yards and 28 touchdowns on 130 receptions.

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Despite his incredible production, Surratt wasn’t a top prospect. On ESPN’s board, Surratt was only a three-star recruit, barely cracking the Top 100 at his position. Surratt originally committed to Harvard, but later withdrew his commitment to Harvard and flipped to the Demon Deacons of Wake Forest. Surratt felt that Wake Forest could better incubate his development as a wide receiver. As it turns out, he was right.

Sage Surratt’s career as a Wake Forest wide receiver

Surratt flashed early in spring practices in 2017, but he still needed to add a little weight and acclimate to the college football level. Surratt redshirted in 2017, using the year to prepare for his eventual elevation.

In 2018, the Wake Forest wide receiver took on a larger role as a redshirt freshman. He played in 11 games, catching 41 passes for 581 yards and four touchdowns. At just 20 years old, Surratt took on almost 20% of his team’s offensive receiving production. And in 2019, the numbers shot up even more.

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Surratt channeled his high school self in 2019. Although he played just nine games due to a season-ending shoulder injury, he accumulated 1,001 yards and 11 touchdowns on 66 catches. The Wake Forest wide receiver was named a first-team All-ACC selection at wide receiver and also earned a spot as a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award.

Surratt’s decision to opt-out in 2020

Before the uncertainty of 2020, Surratt was expected to come back even stronger for his redshirt junior campaign. However, those expectations soon fell into doubt, as the 2020 football season began to feel the impact of the virus. For a period, some conferences considered shutting down operations, or at the very least postponing.

That uncertainty was enough to lead Surratt to make a calculated decision regarding his NFL future. Surratt’s stock was on the rise after a dominant 2019 campaign. Because of this, Surratt opted out of the 2020 season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. With a strong final impression in his back pocket, Surratt chose to start the next step in his journey a bit early. He also accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl in mid-January, intent on building his stock.

Analyzing Sage Surratt’s NFL Draft profile

When a guy hauls in as many catches as Surratt does, you have to assume he’s fairly good at catching the football. In Surratt’s case, this is a safe assumption. Surratt’s best trait is his natural catching ability. Under that umbrella, a lot of different supplementary traits carry weight. Body control, contortion ability, and hand strength all factor in, and Surratt is exceptional in all of those areas.

With his natural catching ability, Surratt is a force to be reckoned with in contested catch situations. Surratt can use his dense frame to box out smaller defensive backs, and he has the coordination and ball tracking ability to convert on opportunities in the intermediate and deep ranges. The Wake Forest wide receiver has a solid catch radius and proficient ball skills. This helps him win at a higher-than-expected rate in close one-on-one contests.

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On top of Surratt’s natural instincts for catching, he’s also fairly explosive and physical. Surratt frequently uses his hands to gain separation both in press and at the top of his route stems. Additionally, he has enough vertical athleticism to rise up for passes and high-point them. His overall athleticism is a question, so it’s good to know that he at least has some burst, both vertically and laterally, that he can use to his advantage.

What are the potential concerns with Surratt?

Surratt fits a mold, and he plays to that mold very well. He’s a boundary receiver with excellent contested catch ability. Unfortunately, aside from that, Surratt’s NFL Draft profile is relatively incomplete. Surratt visibly lacks elite speed and twitch. He sometimes brings good suddenness out of pure urgency, but he’s simply not an incredibly amped-up athlete.

Surratt’s speed — he ran a 4.7 at his pro day — prevents him from gaining separation downfield. The Wake Forest wide receiver also lacks the quickness to earn consistent space when route running. At times, he makes an effort to gain separation, but he also rounds his routes on occasion. That only compounds his problem with separation.

Most of Surratt’s production is going to come at the catch point. He doesn’t have the suddenness to create space before the catch, and after the catch, he’s not incredibly dynamic, either. Surratt’s status as an alpha on the boundary is strong, and he has the toughness to occasionally grind out yards. Nevertheless, his athletic profile naturally limits his versatility.

Sage Surratt’s best fits in the 2021 NFL Draft

In the 2021 wide receiver draft class, Sage Surratt is a bit of an enigma. Few can match his specialization in contested situations, but at the same time, his specialization is too stark.

In the modern NFL, day-to-day starters need to be able to do more than just out-muscle players at the catch point. And for Surratt, that’s not a completely reliable mode of success against more athletic, more physical NFL cornerbacks.

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On the field, Surratt is a playmaker. But his playmaking potential is limited to a specific archetype. He can be a solid downfield threat in favorable one-on-one matchups.

Additionally, he has the ability to be a valuable weapon in the red zone. But outside of that, there might not be an avenue for Surratt to be more than a rotational player, unless he refines his route running and becomes a truly elite player in close quarters. As good as he is, he still has some room to grow.

Which teams project as good fits for Surratt?

Given his lack of elite athleticism and versatility, Surratt should not be considered early in the draft. However, on mid-to-late Day 3, the Wake Forest wide receiver is a good selection for teams that need a high-floor target in their receiver group.

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He can provide value right away as a potential big-play threat with utility in scoring situations. He can also be stacked on top of an earlier pick at receiver. Teams like the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, and Buffalo Bills might especially appreciate Surratt’s natural affinity for catching the football. Having said that, he’s a fit for a lot of teams that late.

Some may say that Surratt missed out on an opportunity to improve his stock by opting out. That may be true with his route running, but Surratt’s speed concerns aren’t likely to go away. Instead, he’ll have to prove he can transcend them. He wasn’t able to do that at the Senior Bowl, but he may get another chance in the NFL.

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Ian Cummings is a Draft Analyst for Pro Football Network. You can find his writing here and his voice and face on Pro Football Network Daily. Follow him on Twitter @ian_cummings_9.

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