Wake Forest Football: Where 2021 draft-eligible Deacons ended up in NFL

Carlos Basham Jr., Wake Forest football (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images)
Carlos Basham Jr., Wake Forest football (Photo by Streeter Lecka/Getty Images) /

When breaking down NFL draft prowess, Wake Forest football very rarely comes to mind. However, the Dave Clawson era has seen a multitude of Wake Forest products hit the professional gridiron. And based on the quality of the 2021 Demon Deacon haul, it appears safe to say that this time around will be no different.

As of May 4, three Deacons have found their ways to the NFL: defensive end Carlos “Boogie” Basham Jr., wide receiver Sage Surratt, and Wake/Georgia hybrid quarterback Jamie Newman. The first name listed was the only one called in this year’s draft; the other two were signed as undrafted free agents.

As to whether or not these talents will see a relatively smooth transition into their professional football careers will ultimately be left up to time to tell. But despite that, there is a clear hierarchy among the situations that each player has landed into.

In my opinion, Basham got the best deal by far. Behind him would be Surratt, and last place would be Newman. Now, none of the gigs that these studs got are necessarily bad, but what exactly defines the properties of a good destination?

For reference, let’s take a look at Basham’s setting, as there is virtually nothing wrong with it. As a result of this, it is the standard that a rookie should hope to meet.

To start, he was drafted 61st overall while his Deacon colleagues had to settle for free agency signings. So, especially when looking at the franchise that selected him, he has an exceptionally promising chance to make some NFL noise early.

The Buffalo Bills are a physical squad, and Basham will fit right in because of that. Also, they are for sure the best team in their division right now and were fighting for a Super Bowl bid last season, all the way up to the AFC title game.

Without a doubt, this is an NFL hopeful’s equivalent to striking gold.

Where the other Wake Forest football stars ended up

Moving down the ladder some, we have a specimen of a wide receiver in Surratt. His combination of size, speed, and hands is bound to get him at least some noteworthy playing time. And he’s on the Detroit Lions, of all teams. How picky can they possibly be?

Surratt certainly has the worst divisional situation of the three but has a young choice at quarterback slinging the rock to him in Jared Goff, which is not great, but solid.

Lastly, there is Newman. Throughout his time orchestrating the Demon Deacons offense, he proved that he possesses outstanding capabilities in regards to both his arm and overall toughness. But not much appears to be in store for him beyond that. He decided to transfer to Georgia last offseason but never played a game for the Bulldogs, so Wake Forest claims him.

The team who rolled the dice on Newman was the Eagles. The only good thing about such a fate is the fact that their division has at least some level of competition. The quarterback situation, though, is a different story.

Currently, Alabama/Oklahoma product Jalen Hurts is the frontrunner to lead Philly’s offensive regime this upcoming fall, as he had his fair share of experience doing so last year. What makes matters worse is that the Eagles drafted the Heisman-winning receiver, DeVonta Smith, out of — you guessed it — Alabama with the 10th overall pick. Why would an organization try so desperately to reunite a quarterback-receiver duo if the quarterback in question was at serious risk of losing the starting job?

To put it simply, Newman has realistically no shot at starting in 2021, and he will only do so if it is required because of a Hurts injury or whatever else.

Wake Forest has provided the NFL with three fascinating players, and going from the smallest school in the Power Five to a professional football roster is no joke, regardless of who you end up getting stuck with. And it will be unbelievably exciting to watch them all light up the gridiron every Sunday. Let’s just hope that they at some point get their opportunities to do so.

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