New Chargers tight end Sage Surratt has this in common with Antonio Gates

Wake Forest v Virginia Tech
Wake Forest v Virginia Tech / Michael Shroyer/GettyImages

The Los Angeles Chargers will start their 2022 season in just over one month from today, yet they are still trying to find one or two impact players on the undrafted and unattached market. After bouncing around between multiple leagues, former Wake Forest wide receiver and converted tight end Sage Surratt could sate their desire.

To say that Surratt has had an unusual path to the NFL would be an understatement. Much like older brother Chazz, who converted from quarterback to linebacker before being drafted by the Minnesota Vikings, Sage made a switch from wide receiver to tight end after his pro career fizzled.

The Chargers are taking a flier on Surratt, who agreed to a contract yesterday, in the hopes of getting some more tight end depth. While it would be foolish to suggest he will have an NFL career even one-tenth as good as someone like Antonio Gates, there are some similarities between the two athletically.

Like Gates, Surratt was a basketball star who is currently third in North Carolina high school history in points per game. The two ahead of him, JamesOn Curry and Coby White, both played in the NBA. LA has a quality athlete on its hands, and it's on them to utilize him properly.

Sage Surratt could be a nice free agent find for the Chargers.

We know that Surratt is going to be a passing game weapon if he gets extended playing time, as he recorded over 1,000 yards receiving during his final season with the Demon Deacons. After opting out in 2020, Surratt went undrafted and received a few cups of preseason coffee with the Lions in 2021.

Surratt moved on to the USFL, where he played for the eventual champion Birmingham Stallions. Surratt caught just 11 passes for 148 yards in the spring league, but he apparently impressed Tom Telesco enough to get thrown a bone and invited to Chargers training camp.

Surratt will need to add some weight if he is going to stick at tight end full-time in the league, but he needs to be careful about doing so while remaining a quality vertical athlete. If he can accomplish that, Justin Herbert may have landed a quality new red zone target who can prove the league wrong for passing on him.

The basketball to tight end pipeline Gates helped establish has been quite strong in recent years, and it has given Surratt a roadmap for success. Time will tell if Brandon Staley turns him into a long-term contributor.

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