After a quiet first night of the NFL Draft for the Tar Heel draft prospects, the calls that would change their lives began rolling in for them on Friday night. Three former Tar Heels heard their names called in the 73 selections that took place on the second night of the 2021 NFL Draft and they didn’t have to wait long to get that start either.
Javonte 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.
In a bit of a shocking turn of events, Chazz Surratt was the second Tar Heel prospect off the board on Friday night. 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 threat ability should be welcome in Washington where they averaged just 9.8 yards per catch, tied for least in the NFL, last year as a team and are in search of receiving threats outside of Terry McLaurin.
With these three selections, only Michael Carter and Dazz Newsome are waiting until Day 3 to hear their names called. Carter still being there is a bit of a shock for sure, but the good news for him is that he is not being passed over for other running backs, there just hasn’t been a run on that position group yet. Don’t expect him to last too far into Saturday’s action unless this trend with running backs continues. For Newsome, seeing Brown drop a bit has to be scary, but his special teams value should be enough to sneak him into one of the final three rounds.