The five former Tar Heel draft prospects in the 2021 draft class officially have their new homes. As expected, all five of the guys went in the final two days of the draft and landed in situations where they will have an opportunity to make an early impact in their NFL career. Here is a breakdown of where each guy is headed and the situations they will be walking into.
Williams, as many expected, was the first Tar Heel prospect and running back prospect off the board on Friday night. He heard his name called just three picks in, although it wasn’t to the team that many thought would make the pick of him there at No. 35 overall. The Atlanta Falcons, who originally were the team drafting in that spot, felt like a good fit for him, but they instead traded the pick to the Denver Broncos who decided to add Williams to their backfield. Williams concluded his career with 2,297 yards rushing and 29 touchdowns on the ground in his three years in Chapel Hill and finished his career with a phenomenal junior season where he was one of the nation’s leaders in both rushing touchdowns (19) and total touchdowns (22). He will have a chance to play early in Denver with the departure of Phillip Lindsay this season, as Williams will have a chance to fill his shoes and work as part of a tandem with Melvin Gordon.
Surratt was the second Tar Heel prospect off the board on Friday night in a bit of a shocking turn of events. The Minnesota Vikings pulled the trigger on him in the third round with the No. 78 overall pick. Surratt had an extremely productive two-year career at linebacker after moving there from the quarterback position that he played in his first three seasons in Chapel Hill. Surratt led the Tar Heels in tackles each of the last two seasons, totaling 207 during that time, 22.5 of which were for a loss and 12.5 of which were sacks. Surratt should have a chance to establish himself in a rotational role with the Vikings and will have a great opportunity to learn from a guy like Eric Kendricks.
It wasn’t long after Surratt came off the board that the next Tar Heel prospect was selected, as Dyami Brown would finally hear his name called at No. 82 overall to the Washington Football Team. The Football Team gets Brown off of two straight 1,000 yard receiving seasons to close his Tar Heel career. In his three seasons with the Tar Heels, Brown caught 123 passes for 2,306 yards and 21 touchdowns, averaging 18.7 yards per catch in his career. His big-play ability should be welcome in Washington where they averaged just 9.8 yards per catch, tied for second-fewest in the NFL, last year as a team and are in search of receiving threats outside of Terry McLaurin.
As the draft turned to its third day, many were wondering how long Michael Carter would have to wait after not being selected on Friday night and the answer was not long at all. With the second pick of the day and the 107th overall, the Tar Heels leading rusher from each of the past two seasons was selected by the New York Jets. Carter ran for 3,404 yards and 22 touchdowns, never rushing for less than 500 yards in any of his four seasons and totaling over 4,000 yards of total offense in his career. He will get an opportunity early with the Jets, who did go out and add Tevin Coleman in the offseason but don’t have many answers outside of that at the position.
The final pick of the five Tar Heel draft picks was Dazz Newsome, who had to wait until the No. 221 overall pick to get his phone call on Saturday. Newsome, the Tar Heels fifth-leading receiver in program history, caught 188 passes for 2,435 yards and 18 touchdowns and he averaged 11.1 yards per return while returning punts. He’ll likely have a chance to factor in in the return game and while there are a lot of options in the Chicago wide receiving corps, he’ll have a chance to land on the 53-man roster if he can clean up some of his drops because of the uncertainty in the slot.