Earlier this offseason Baltimore Ravens Head Coach John Harbaugh expressed his desire to bring in a big-bodied pass catching threat that could come via a wide receiver or tight end. Wake Forest’s Sage Surratt possesses the traits to be a weapon for Lamar Jackson in the red zone and come down with contested catches.
Surratt opted out of the 2020 season to focus on preparing for the 2021 NFL Draft after he broke out as a redshirt sophomore with 66 receptions, 1,001 yards, and 11 touchdowns in just nine games. He was viewed as fringe first rounder in way too early mock drafts last year but has seen his hype reduced to a dull roar after being out of sight and out of mind.
Unlike LSU’s Jamar Chase whose is still considered the top consensus player at the position despite opting out last year after breaking out in 2019, Surratt has seen his stock plummet while he sat out and prepared for the next level.
However, it’s completely understandable considering Chase brings more to table from a complete skillset standpoint and was last seen on a national championship winning Tigers team. Wake Forrest finished a respectable 8-5 in 2019 and while Surratt can threaten vertically down field when given a free release, he doesn’t have high end speed or quick feet.
He is a physical outside presence who plays as big as his 6-foot-2 and 215 pound frame suggests. While he doesn’t separate well off the line of scrimmage or down the field in one-on-one coverage, Surratt is still able haul in receptions in traffic and with defensive backs draped all over him.
The former high school basketball star plays like a power forward on the gridiron. He high points the ball like he’s going up for a rebound and shields defenders from making a play on the ball with his body like he’s boxing out in the paint.
Since he lacks elite speed and quick footwork, Surratt can at times be seen using a savvy understanding of the routes themselves and how corners are trained to react, sell fakes and get open at the intermediate level.
2021 WR Sage Surratt - Thread— Cory P. (@FF_Guitarist) March 24, 2020
He's going to end up being overshadowed by next years top tier, but he's a talented player.
Big, physical and athletic flanker - understands how to deceive defenses with subtle nuances to his route running ⬇️#devy #demondeacons pic.twitter.com/K9tlSv95Py
Surratt attended the Reese’s Senior Bowl. While he struggled to beat press coverage, he turned some heads with ability to high point the ball and adjust his body to make back shoulder catches while keeping both feet in bounds.
Senior Bowl Spotlight— Rivals (@Rivals) February 10, 2021
We are running back some of the best highlights from the @SeniorBowl week.
After impressing in Mobile, where does Wake Forest receiver Sage Surratt @SageSurratt_14 belong in the Draft? pic.twitter.com/R7zSKXZhk2
An injury kept him out of Thursday's practice and the game itself but perhaps be made a good enough impression on the teams in attendance to improve his stock. However, his below average unofficial mark of 4.66 in the 40 yard dash at his Pro Day may have brought it back down in the eyes of some evaluators.
Another knock on Surratt that he’ll have to clean up if he wishes to have success in the NFL is his proclivity to push off to try to create separation at the top of his route or when the ball arrives. He has a tendancy to fully extend and lockout one of his arms which will draw many offensive pass interference penalties at the next level.
Just like almost every NFL offensive lineman routinely holds their defensive counterparts in the trenches without being flagged at a high clip, most wide receivers in the league use subtle push offs to help create a split second of separation without being called for OPI. He will need to learn the art of pushing off more subtlety or find a way to separate by other means if he wants to see the field regularly between the 20’s.
Surratt possess strong hands, good ball skills and the ability to both gain and exploit leverage on smaller defensive backs if lined up in the slot. He could be a first down and touchdown machine if utilized correctly and is ideally suited to play the X receiver role.
While I don’t believe the Ravens would spend a high pick on him, he could be worth a Day 3 flier if he meets the best player available criteria on their board in the fifth round where they have a pair of picks.