Since 2002, the Las Vegas Raiders haven’t had a linebacker corps like the one they had when Bill Romanowski and Napoleon Harris were on the roster. It shouldn’t be a coincidence then that the last Raiders team to reach a Super Bowl was that same year. Fast forward to 2021, and they haven’t been able to build a game-changing linebacker unit.
The additions of Cory Littleton and Nick Kwiatkoski in the 2020 offseason looked solid at first. Nevertheless, they failed to have a significant impact. Adding an additional talent, one such as North Carolina’s Chazz Surratt, could not only bolster the group but put it over the top.
Needing a linebacker isn’t new for the Raiders and one in this upcoming draft could be Surratt. A Day 2 draft projection, he quickly made a name for himself after switching to linebacker in 2019. A quarterback in his first two collegiate years, he shoot up the draft board following his switch to defense. With an impressive 2020 stat line of 91 total tackles, six sacks, three passes defensed, and one pick, he has the body type and the athletic ability to do it all. He also is familiar with the 4-3 style of defense that defensive coordinator Gus Bradley employs.
Chazz Surratt would be a solid addition to the Raiders’ linebacker corps
Surratt had a solid performance in North Carolina’s Pro Day. He ran a 4.6 40-yad dash and put up 25 reps on the bench press. Moreover, he posted a 31.5-inch vertical jump, a 7.03-second three-cone drill, and a short shuttle of 4.18 seconds. Besides having the physical tools in the NFL, the linebacker has a high ceiling and has improved every year since switching positions. You could argue that the Raiders should take a more polished prospect in the second round. However, the North Carolina native may be too good to pass up.
The addition of Surratt would bring even more talent to what we already know can be a talented group. Although the Raiders have many needs on that side of the ball, solidifying the middle is essential. Bradley does not blitz much in his scheme, so coverage is vital. With the offensive knowledge, athletic ability, and skill to do it, Surratt is a name Raider Nation should look out for in the second round of the upcoming draft.
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*Top Photo: Ben McKeown/Associated Press