The 2021 wide receiver class has some big shoes to fill. Both the 2019 and 2020 receiver classes were both excellent, with remarkable talent at the top and great depth throughout.
The New York Giants largely bypassed both of those receiver classes, but they likely can’t afford to do so again. Their offense — and passing offense in particular — was a liability which held the team back from winning the division and could continue to hold the team back if it isn’t addressed.
While teams might want to have the chance to select from the prospects at the top of the draft class, they should always expect the unexpected in the draft. In this case, its possible that the group of top receivers in the draft might all be selected in the first ten picks. They will need to do their homework on the receivers that make up the depth of this draft class as well.
Wake Forest wide receiver Sage Surratt slipped below the national radar when he opted out of the 2020 season. But teams will soon remember his breakout 2019 campaign, and his combination of athletic traits and intangibles should prove attractive. Surratt not only has a prototypical build for the position, he graduated high school with a 4.93 GPA (having taken AP History, Psychology, and Calculus classes) and got an offer from Harvard.
This is a player worth taking closer look at.
Prospect: Sage Surratt
Games Played: 19
Yards (YPC): 1,582 (14.8 per catch)
Games Played: 9
Yards (YPC): 1,001 (15.2 per catch)
Best: Size, intelligence, physicality, long speed, contested catches
Worst: Acceleration, separation against man
Projection: A wide receiver with scheme diversity and starting potential.
Wake Forest wide receiver Sage Surratt has a good blend of size and physicality, as well as adequate athleticism, to play the position at the NFL level.
Surratt primarily aligned as an “X” wide receiver on the line of scrimmage in Wake Forest’s offense, but he occasionally played out of the slot as well. He has an efficient release off the line of scrimmage, wasting little time or motion getting into his route. Surratt is a solid route runner with crisp cuts and breaks for a receiver his size, as well as a varied route tree. His football IQ shows itself in his route running as he makes adjustments to find holes in zone coverages or expand catch windows down the field.
Surratt does a good job of tracking, locating, and adjusting to the ball in flight, as well as routinely extending his arms to maximize his catch radius. He has very strong hands, as well as a very physical play style, and is dependable in contested catch situations. His basketball background is apparent in how he positions his body between the ball and the defender, boxing him out and preventing plays on the ball. Likewise, Surratt does a good job of high-pointing the ball, as though he was going up for a rebound.
He is a long-strider down the field, able to be a vertical threat and generate big plays when he has the opportunity to lengthen his stride. Surratt is a very physical player, who sets off his yards-after-catch with a ready stiff-arm. He is also a willing and effective blocker on screen passes or outside zone runs.
Surratt can struggle to create separation against physical man coverage, which could limit his effectiveness at the NFL level. He is also a relatively inexperienced receiver with just 19 games at Wake Forest. It’s possible his ability to separate against man coverage can improve with more coaching and experience.
Overall Grade: 6.9 - Should be an early day-3 selection. Has a relatively high floor, but could be held back by issues separating from press coverage.
Sage Surratt has the upside to be a starting receiver at the NFL level, particularly in an offense which uses route concepts to scheme separation. He is a remarkably intelligent player and should have no problems grasping complex offensive schemes and understanding his role within them.
Surratt’s size and catch radius should make him an instant threat in short-yardage and red-zone situations. Likewise, his ability to win contested catches should give him an edge when the field gets crowded. He also has the ability to win down the field, combining deceptive speed with good awareness of the ball in the air.
Coaches will likely fall in love with Surratt’s competitive toughness, physicality at and after the catch, and willingness to block for this teammates.
He might have to start his NFL career as a reserve player (perhaps a number three receiver) and work his way up the depth chart, but his traits will be difficult to keep off the field.