When it comes to the NFL, bloodlines are a pretty important thing. No, it’s certainly not the be all end all, but having a family member with a football background helps tremendously, whether it be through their inherited athleticism, connections, or pure knowledge of the game.
In years past, players like Nick and Joey Bosa, J.J. and T.J Watt, and Jason and Devin McCourty have all provided this theory credibility, establishing themselves as some of the NFL’s best in the process.
Going off of the 2020 draft class alone, we also had prospects like Michael Pittman Jr., Antoine Winfield Jr., Devin Duvernay, Jeremy Chinn, and Joe Burrow all drafted with strong family ties, further demonstrating the point.
As per usual, the 2021 class looks to have another handful of prospects that share this bond, some of which are highlighted below.
Jaycee Horn, CB, South Carolina
A top-notch SEC corner for the gamecocks, Horn is the son of former New Orleans Saints wideout Joe Horn. Amassing four 1,000-yard seasons throughout his respectable career, Joe—although maybe best known for his phone celebration—was considered one of the game’s best for a short period of time. His son, despite not being a flashy pass-catcher, offers solid upside as a potential top-100 pick.
Asante Samuel Jr., CB, Florida State
This one is pretty obvious. Samuel Jr., one of Florida State’s top cornerbacks, is the son of former New England Patriots and Philadelphia Eagles corner Asante Samuel. Samuel Jr. played less than he should have on a struggling Seminoles team a year ago but has the talent to be a top-50 draft pick when it’s all said and done.
Patrick Surtain II, CB, Alabama
Like Samuel Jr., this one is very apparent based on the name alone. The son of former Dolphins three-time Pro-Bowler Patrick Surtain, Surtain II has the upside to be even better than his father, especially after a wonderful start to his Alabama career. Considered a top-20 pick based off of his current film, Surtain’s length, athleticism, and bloodlines make him an extremely appealing prospect heading into his true junior season.
Marco Wilson, CB, Florida
Sticking with corners, Wilson is the brother of current Jets DB Quincy Wilson, a former Gator himself. Although Quincy’s career in Indianapolis has been largely up and down, his brother has the length and ball production to possibly end up as the better pro player.
Alec Lindstrom, IOL, Boston College
The brother of 2019 Falcons first-round guard Chris Lindstrom, Alec is also an interior lineman who suited up for Boston College. Although he won’t be taken nearly as high as his brother, Alec, a first-year starter last season, is a smart and dependable prospect who is already worthy of a draft selection at this point.
Carlos Basham, EDGE, Wake Forest
One of the top pass-rushers in the 2021 draft class, Basham is the cousin of former Colts draft pick (and current New York Jets EDGE) Tarell Basham. Although Tarell has largely been disappointing throughout his NFL career, Carlos is considered the better pro prospect and will be drafted as such.
Amon-Ra St. Brown, WR, USC
Part of one of the freakiest families in all of America, Amon-Ra is the brother of current Green Bay Packers wide receiver Equanimeous St. Brown and the son of former bodybuilder John Brown. The third brother in the family, Osiris St. Brown is also a pass-catcher for Stanford, although he currently only plays in a depth role for the Cardinals. Ultimately, Amon-Ra—a prized 5-star recruit coming out of high school—is considered a potential top-50 pick in 2021 and should be the top target in USC’s electric air raid offense this coming season.
Osa Odighizuwa, EDGE, UCLA
A UCLA pass-rusher with the last-name Odighizuwa? No, you’re not crazy if that sounds familiar. Osa is the brother of former Bruin (and current NFL free agent) Owa Odighizuwa. Drafted in the third round back in 2015, Owa didn’t pan out in the pros, but hopefully his brother—despite only having 3.5 sacks as a junior—can have more success.
J.D. Spielman, WR, TBD
The son of Minnesota Vikings GM Rick Spielman (and the nephew of former Lions linebacker Chris Spielman), J.D. is an electric wideout with jitterbug-like qualities in the open field. Currently in the transfer portal after deciding to leave the Cornhuskers, Spielman’s future team may be a question mark right now, but his abilities on the turf certainly aren’t. Size may limit him from a top selection, but assuming he puts forth quality testing numbers, J.D. should expect to have his name called on draft day.
Wyatt Davis, IOL, Ohio State
Arguably the best 2021 prospect on this list, Davis is also connected to the best overall player on this list, Willie Davis. The grandson of the Hall of Fame pass-rusher, Wyatt may not have five Lombardi Trophies on his resume like his grandpa, but has all the makings of a star in his own right. Dominant in the run game and precise as a pass-blocker, the Ohio State lineman should be considered one of, if not the best interior lineman in all of college football.
Soon to qualify for this list:
Penei Sewell, OT, Oregon
An exceptional lineman with extraordinary potential, Sewell is the nation’s top offensive tackle and a potential top-three selection. Interestingly enough, his brother Noah, despite not being as highly-touted as his counterpart, is also a 5-star commit who will be joining Oregon this upcoming season. A freak 260-pound linebacker, Noah might redshirt this season and probably won’t play alongside Penei with the Ducks, but both look to have incredibly bright futures.
Brock Purdy, QB, Iowa State
Like Sewell, Purdy also has a family member with a potential NFL career in front of him. A current 4-star recruit who’s committed to Florida State, Brock’s brother, Chubba, is a highly-rated QB, much like Brock himself. The current record-holder for the majority of throwing accolades at Iowa State, Purdy isn’t considered the biggest or strongest player at the position, but looks to have a long NFL career in front of him, whether it be as a (likely) spot-starter or potential back-up.
Sage Surratt, WR, Wake Forest & Chazz Surratt, LB, North Carolina
No, they don’t currently have any NFL ties, but assuming all goes according to plan, both Sage and Chazz Surratt will be in the pros in less than a year. Breaking nearly every record known to man during his illustrious high-school career, Sage is a star wideout on Wake Forest, while Chazz, a former QB, is currently the top linebacker at North Carolina. All in all, the two are incredible athletes with excellent production and should be top-100 picks in 2021.