Could help cover running backs, tight ends, receivers
Good sub-package linebacker
Quick; covers a lot of ground
Covers a lot of ground in zone coverage
Could also contribute on special teams
Too many missed tackles
Must improve tackling technique
Flashes instincts, but inconsistent
Needs to get better at taking on and shedding blocks
Summary: Surratt went to North Carolina as a quarterback and started seven games during his redshirt freshman season in 2017 and had some struggles. An injury then cost him a lot of the 2018 season, and Surratt asked the Tar Heels coaches to move him to linebacker. The change paid off for Surratt, who broke out in 2019 season with 115 tackles, 6.5 sacks, three passes broken up, one interception and one forced fumble. He continued to produce well for North Carolina as a senior, recording 91 tackles, six sacks, one interception and a forced fumble.
The NFL is a passing-driven league, and Surratt is a linebacker with the size, speed, and athleticism to become a three-down starter. He is natural in zone coverage, hustling over a lot of ground in the middle of the field. He also is a dangerous blitzer who displays a serious burst to fire into the backfield and close on quarterbacks in a blur.
Surratt has the potential to eventually be even more valuable in pass coverage given additional development. With his size, speed, and athleticism, Surratt could become a real asset in the NFL to cover tight ends running vertically down the middle of the field or running backs leaking out of the backfield. Surratt also should be a good defender to help with receivers crossing the middle of the field. Thanks to his speed, athleticism, and knowledge of the passing game, Surratt has a good foundation to work with. He has some rawness to iron out, but he has the skill set to cover, and he could grow into being a valuable pass-coverage linebacker.
Surratt has sideline-to-sideline speed for run defense, and he possesses the size and strength to tackle NFL power backs. Surratt's speed and vision enable him to fire into the backfield and shut down perimeter runs.
Improving his technique as a tackler is a major point of improvement for Surratt, who misses too many tackles. That is somewhat understandable considering his late change to linebacker, but he definitely has to cut down on the number of missed tackles to become a good NFL starter.
In the ground game, Surratt has the strength and size to take on NFL offensive linemen. Almost all college linebackers need some development at taking on and shedding blocks in the NFL, so Surratt will be no different for that aspect. However, he has the physical talent to do it, and the skills to shed are thing that can be developed.
Surratt could be a Mike - middle - linebacker in a 4-3 or 3-4 defense, plus he has enough speed to move to the Will - weak side - linebacker spot. After some development, Surratt could become a NFL starter. He has a real skill set, but owing to his rawness and need of development, he will probably end up as a second- or third-round pick in the 2021 NFL Draft.
Player Comparison: Shaq Thompson. There are a lot of similarities with Surratt and Thompson. Both played offense in college and were athletic linebackers who were raw and in need of development. Thompson was further along than Surrat, which is why Thompson was a first-rounder, but if Surratt develops, he could turn into a solid pro linebacker like Thompson.