Heel Tough Blog: Pre-Senior Bowl Draft Rankings

With the 2020 college football season now a couple of weeks in the rear view, the focus around the college football world turns towards the NFL Draft. On January 30th in Mobile, Alabama, the first key step of the draft will take place, as 100 of the top senior prospects that are entered into the 2021 NFL Draft will look to impress scouts from all 32 teams that will be in attendance. As two Tar Heels prepare for their opportunity to impress in Mobile, we give you a look at where the five Tar Heels that will be hoping to hear their names called in April’s draft sit on draft boards right now.


Andy Mead- ISI Photos

LB Chazz Surratt

The Draft Network: 3rd Round, No. 8 LB

CBS Sports: 3rd Round, No. 7 LB

WalterFootball.com: 2nd-3rd Round, No. 4 ILB

Pro Football Network: 3rd Round, No. 6 ILB

Drafttek: 2nd-3rd Round, No. 3 ILB

DraftSite.com: 2nd Round, No. 4 ILB

NFL Draft Diamonds: 2nd Round, No. 4 LB

Draft Lord Sports: No. 3 LB

NFL Draft Blitz: No. 2 OLB

Surratt was a name that made a huge jump last offseason on these same draft boards and despite some struggles this year, the draft boards still love him. As of right now, it seems crazy to think that Surratt will make it past the second day in April thanks to his pass rushing ability and instinctual playing style. The Senior Bowl will be a great place for NFL teams to evaluate him even further and see where he might fit best at the next level. Unless he has a rough pre-draft process, Surratt will be a solid Day 2 selection for someone.


Andy Mead- ISI Photos

RB Javonte Williams

The Draft Network: 2nd-3rd Round, No. 3 RB

CBS Sports: 4th-5th Round, No. 9 RB

WalterFootball.com: 2nd-4th Round, No. 5 RB

Pro Football Network: 6th Round, No. 13 RB

Drafttek: 2nd-3rd Round, No. 3 RB

DraftSite.com: Undrafted

NFL Draft Diamonds: 3rd-4th Round, No. 4 RB

Draft Lord Sports: No. 3 RB

NFL Draft Blitz: Unranked (site does not rank non-seniors)

Surratt seems like the only one of the five that every site has off the board in the first two days, but Williams is the closest to him in that category after a big junior season. Not only did Williams continue to prove himself on the ground, but he also showed that he is a valuable receiver out of the backfield and can help in pass protection. Williams was one of the hardest running backs in college football to bring down over the past couple of seasons with his bruising running style and the success of guys like Kareem Hunt and J.K. Dobbins, guys who his running style reminds me of, should make him an intriguing option to scouts. With the 2021 NFL Scouting Combine cancelled due to COVID-19, Williams’ pro day will be his chance to climb boards again, but right now he still has a great chance of being one of the first five running backs off the board.


Andy Mead- ISI Photos

WR Dazz Newsome

The Draft Network: 3rd-4th Round, No. 11 WR

CBS Sports: 2nd-3rd Round, No. 10 WR

WalterFootball.com: 4th-6th Round, No. 24 WR

Pro Football Network: 7th-Undrafted, No. 40 WR

Drafttek: 4th Round, No. 12 WR

DraftSite.com: 3rd Round, No. 11 WR

NFL Draft Diamonds: 3rd-4th Round, No. 16 WR

Draft Lord Sports: No. 21 WR

NFL Draft Blitz: No. 10 WR

Newsome stock has been solidified over the past few months, as most sites seem to look at him as an early Day 3 pick. After a slow start to his senior season, he bounced back and was a big part of the Tar Heels success down the stretch. Newsome has proved that he can make things happen after the catch and his hands have become more reliable as his career has progressed. He is a strong route runner, as well, and could be able to show off a little bit early on at the NFL level now that he probably won’t be facing the bracketing that defenses threw at him so often this season. His special teams ability will also help his cause, but as of right now it will be tough for him to climb much higher than a late Day 2 selection.


Grant Halverson- Getty Images

RB Michael Carter

The Draft Network: 3rd Round, No. 4 RB

CBS Sports: 3rd-4th Round, No. 6 RB

WalterFootball.com: 3rd-5th Round, No. 9 RB

Pro Football Network: 4th Round, No. 7 RB

Drafttek: 6th-7th Round, No. 17 RB

DraftSite.com: 6th Round, No. 13 RB

NFL Draft Diamonds: 6th-7th Round, No. 13 RB

Draft Lord Sports: No. 11 RB

NFL Draft Blitz: No. 6 RB

Carter is the prospect who could benefit the most from a trip to the Senior Bowl. This running back class is a pretty strong one and each site seems to have him in a different spot at this time, showing just how fluid things are behind the top tier of backs. Carter left as good of a lasting impression as any draft prospect that is entered in this draft and he comes off of one of the most productive seasons from scrimmage of any running back in the country. Carter possesses the speed and vision to thrive if he lands in the right system and his ability to catch the ball out of the backfield could make him an option as a third down back early in his career. The question for Carter isn’t if he will be drafted, but when. A good showing in Mobile could give him a shot at sneaking himself into position to be a Day 2 selection.


Grant Halverson- Getty Images

WR Dyami Brown

The Draft Network: 5th-6th Round, No. 24 WR

CBS Sports: 4th Round, No. 18 WR

WalterFootball.com: Undrafted

Pro Football Network: 4th Round, No. 17 WR

Drafttek: 4th-5th Round, No. 15 WR

DraftSite.com: Undrafted

NFL Draft Diamonds: 5th-6th Round, No. 26 WR

Draft Lord Sports: No. 18 WR

NFL Draft Blitz: Unranked

Brown appears as if he’s a solid Day 3 pick at this point, especially with the cancellation of the Combine. Whoever gets Brown in the late rounds, though, will be getting a steal, as Brown was one of the most productive wide receivers in the country in each of the last two seasons. Brown was one of the better deep threats in the nation during that time as well, but he also developed into the Tar Heels go-to threat in the intermediate passing game and he, like Newsome, became more reliable as his career went along and has an overall skill set that should allow him to thrive at the NFL level if he lands in the right system.