The Vikings added to their linebackers room Friday with the 78th overall pick.
Minnesota grabbed North Carolina linebacker Chazz Surratt as one of four third-round selections made on Day 2 of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Over two seasons playing linebacker for the Tar Heels, Surratt totaled 207 tackles, 22.5 tackles for loss, 12.5 sacks and two interceptions.
"I saw him play live this year [against Notre Dame] at North Carolina, and I believe the first series he made, like, three or four plays in a row," said Vikings Director of College Scouting Jamaal Stephenson. "He's a great blitzer; you just see the speed, sideline to sideline; his instincts, for a guy who's only played linebacker for two years, are unbelievable. We're very excited about him and his upside and what he brings to the Vikings."
Here are five things to know about the lone linebacker drafted by Minnesota in 2021:
1. From QB to LB
Going from quarterback to linebacker isn't exactly a typical transition, but it's exactly what Surratt did at North Carolina. After playing quarterback in 2017 and 2018, Surratt moved to the defensive side of the ball, where he quickly excelled.
In his first season playing linebacker, Surratt was named the runner-up for the 2019 ACC Defensive Player of the Year honors.
"It was a move that I thought ultimately would get me to this point," Surratt said. "I'm thankful for the coaches and teammates I had along the way. I wouldn't be here without them. I'm thankful for the opportunity Coach [Mack] Brown gave me. A lot of hard work was put into it, and I had strong support from my family, both of my parents and my brother (Sage). That's a big reason why I'm here."
Former Vikings linebacker Ben Leber joined the Minnesota Vikings Podcast following the conclusion of Day 2 and spoke about Surratt's transition.
"As a player, you have to respect the fact that not a lot of guys could make that switch from quarterback to linebacker," Leber said. "For him to make that transition, play at a high level, still learning the game – there are linebackers who have been playing 12 years at that position – that still don't understand the nuances of the game."
2. Brotherly love
Speaking of his brother, Sage also entered the 2021 NFL Draft.
Just a year younger than Chazz, Sage was an All-Conference wide receiver for Wake Forest. The brothers have been extremely close their whole lives and have pushed each other to be better in athletics. ESPN’s David M. Hale wrote:
"Training together [for the draft] was fitting. That's how they'd grown up in Lincolnton, North Carolina, tethered by age and ambition, on ballfields or basketball courts, even heading to national chess tournaments together."
3. High school standout
Surratt attended East Lincoln High School (Denver, North Carolina), where as a senior he was named Parade All-America and Parade National Player of the Year. He also earned North Carolina Offensive Player of the Year from The Associated Press.
Surratt broke the state record for total career passing yards with 16,593 and also owns the state record for touchdown responsibility with 229 career scores. In his senior season, he threw for 3,536 yards and 51 touchdowns with 10 interceptions during his senior season. He also ran for 1,345 yards and 15 more scores. Surratt helped lead the Mustangs to 30 straight wins.
View photos of North Carolina LB Chazz Surratt who was selected in the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
4. North Carolina native
Surratt grew up in Denver, North Carolina, a suburb of Charlotte.
He becomes one of four North Carolina natives on the Vikings roster, joining center Garrett Bradbury and safety Myles Dorn, who are both from the Charlotte area, and Oliseameka Udoh (Fayetteville).
Surratt and Dorn teamed together at the Tar Heels and will reunite in Minnesota's locker room.
5. Chicken 'n Biscuits for Chazz
The Surratt brothers repped a hometown fast food chain for NFL Draft Weekend.
The pair partnered with Bojangles, which provided Big Bo Boxes for the Surratt draft party.