There will be some familiar names announced all throughout the 2020 NFL Draft, even for fans who didn’t watch these players on Saturdays during the college football season. That’s because this year’s class is filled with prospects who’ve had a close relative play in the NFL.
Some of those relatives became Hall of Famers, while others were journeymen. A few are still in the NFL.
Let’s introduce you to the guys who will be following in a family member’s footsteps. This isn’t a complete list — other, lesser-known prospects this year have had a cousin, brother, uncle, father, or grandfather who had a cup of coffee in the NFL.
Instead, we’re highlighting some of the most recognizable players, both from this year’s group and from past draft classes.
The big names
These prospects could all be future NFL stars, and not just because of their bloodlines.
Joe Burrow, QB, LSU: Son of Jim Burrow
The expected No. 1 overall pick’s father played defensive back for Nebraska, getting drafted in the eighth round by the Green Bay Packers in 1976. Please look take a moment to look at this glorious stache:
Lots of players in this draft whose fathers played in the NFL but the one everyone forgets about is Jim Burrow, Joe's dad, who was drafted in the 8th round in 1976, was on Packers roster for one year before heading to the CFL. pic.twitter.com/3crJE5C65v— Gil Brandt (@Gil_Brandt) April 13, 2020
Jim played three games for the Packers that season, getting cut after a Week 3 loss to his son’s likely future team, the Bengals. After a five-year CFL career, Jim began coaching at both the college and high school levels.
Most recently, he was the associate head coach/defensive coordinator at Ohio University, where he worked from 2005-18 until he retired. That gave him time to attend every game of Joe’s senior year, which culminated in a Heisman Trophy and national championship.
Jeremy Chinn, CB, Southern Illinois: Nephew of Steve Atwater
Chinn, a cornerback out of FCS Southern Illinois, is the nephew of the eight-time Pro Bowl safety, who was just elected to Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2020. Atwater played in the NFL for 11 seasons, spending all but one of them with the Denver Broncos.
“Yeah, I’ve been able to talk to Steve really just about the process,” Chinn said of his uncle in February. “I talked to him most recently a couple of months before the Senior Bowl to talk to him about the process, not just the NFL Combine process. But just life in general, becoming an NFL player.”
Despite playing for a smaller school, Chinn got plenty of notice after his impressive performance at both the Senior Bowl and the combine. He shouldn’t have to wait too long to hear his name called.
Trevon Diggs, CB, Alabama: Brother of Stefon Diggs
The former Alabama corner is the younger brother of Stefon, now with the Bills after a trade from the Vikings. Trevon started his career as a wide receiver, just like his brother, before transitioning to cornerback full-time. He’s excelled on the other side of the ball, finishing 2019 with 37 tackles, four interceptions, and 21 passes defended.
“He’s like my dad, honestly,” Trevon said of his older brother at the NFL Combine. “He was there for me when my father passed, so he has always taken care of me. I always ask him everything, no matter what. Two o’clock in the morning, I’m asking him questions.”
How cool would it be to see Trevon and his brother face off one-on-one next season?
Devin Duvernay, WR, Texas: Cousin of Kyler Murray
The former Longhorn receiver accounted for 2,468 yards and 16 touchdowns during his four-year career. Duvernay is the younger cousin of Murray, the No. 1 pick in 2019 who also took home the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Year Award.
“Not really,” Duvernay said at the combine when asked if him and Murray were competitive growing up. “We’d get together on family holidays and stuff and throw and stuff, but nothing too major.”
Receiver isn’t a big need for the Cardinals after they acquired DeAndre Hopkins. Still, it’d be fun if Duvernay landed in Arizona with his cousin.
Thaddeus Moss, TE, LSU: Son of Randy Moss
Two years after being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame, Randy Moss will get to see his son enter the NFL. Thaddeus is slightly shorter but has 40 pounds on his father, so it’s not surprising he ended up as a tight end rather than wide receiver.
Thaddeus started his career at NC State before transferring to LSU. After having to sit out a season due to NCAA transfer rules and then redshirting the next year with a foot injury, he played just one season with the Tigers in 2019. He finished with 47 receptions for 570 yards, both of which are school records for a tight end. One of his TD catches against Alabama looked eerily similar to one his dad would’ve made:
Thaddeus Moss did Randy proud with this grab, WHAT A CATCH! pic.twitter.com/eVf42EypNA— CBS Sports (@CBSSports) November 9, 2019
Thaddeus might not be the electric receiver his father was, but he certainly has the tools to be a breakout tight end in the NFL.
Michael Pittman Jr., WR, USC: Son of Michael Pittman
Michael Pittman Sr. was an NFL running back for 11 seasons, mostly with the Cardinals and Buccaneers. He was even the leading rusher during the Bucs’ Super Bowl XXXVII win over the Raiders, with 124 yards on 29 carries. Pittman Jr. said that he played running back like his father until he grew to his current 6’4’ frame.
“I grew up watching him and I always wanted to play back, but I just outgrew that and I switched [positions],” he said after the Senior Bowl.
Pittman Jr., who is also an excellent special teams player, is coming off a breakout senior season at USC. He had a team-high 101 catches for 1,275 yards and 11 touchdowns, all career bests.
Jalen Reagor, WR, TCU: Son of Montae Reagor
Reagor led TCU in receiving in 2018 and 2019, catching 148 receptions for 2,248 yards and 22 touchdowns over three seasons. His dad, Montae, played defensive tackle and was a second-round pick in the 1999 draft. He spent nine seasons in the NFL.
Montae won a Super Bowl with the Colts, and Jalen, who returned two punts for touchdowns in 2019, says his favorite returner to watch growing up was Devin Hester.
“Because I watched him do it in the Super Bowl against my dad,” Reagor said via the Star-Telegram.
Hester returned the opening kickoff 92 yards for a touchdown against his dad’s team in that 2007 Super Bowl.
Jalen doesn’t have his father’s size and he’s faster too, but he should follow in his dad’s footsteps by being an early-round pick in the draft.
Antoine Winfield Jr., S, Minnesota: Son of Antoine Winfield
Winfield Sr. played in the NFL for 14 seasons. The three-time All-Pro cornerback was drafted No. 23 overall by the Bills in 1999, though he’s mostly known for his time with the Vikings from 2004-12.
Winfield Jr. played safety at Minnesota, but injuries caused him to miss 16 games as a sophomore and junior. Fully healthy in 2019, he was a unanimous All-American who finished with a career-high seven interceptions and 88 tackles.
That kind of playmaking runs in the family.
At the NFL Combine, Winfield Jr. was asked about how his game is similar to his father’s.
“It comes when I’m tackling,” he said. “I’ll make a tackle and I’m like, ‘oh wow, I’ve seen my dad make the same tackle, watching his highlights.’ It’s just crazy just see the comparison between us, because we play pretty much the exact same.”
Some other names you might recognize
- Thomas Barber, LB, Minnesota: His father is Marion, who had a seven-year NFL career as a running back with the Jets. He’s also the brother of Marion III and Dom, who played running back (Cowboys, Bears) and safety (Texans) in the NFL, respectively.
- Cam Brown, LB, Penn State: Cousin of receiver Andre Davis, who was the Browns’ second-round pick in 2002 and played nine seasons in the NFL.
- Kelly Bryant, QB, Missouri: Cousin of receiver Martavis Bryant, who was drafted by the Steelers in 2014 and most recently played for the Raiders in 2018 before the league suspended him indefinitely.
- Javaris Davis, CB, Auburn: He’s the cousin of former first-round picks Vernon and Vontae Davis, who both played 10+ seasons in the NFL before retiring.
- AJ Dillon, RB, Boston College: His grandfather is receiver Thom Gatewood, a member of the College Football Hall of Fame who was drafted by the Giants in 1972.
- A.J. Epenesa, DE, Iowa: Cousin of Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, who currently plays defensive tackle for the Falcons.
- Blake Ferguson, LS, LSU: His older brother, Reid, has been the Bills’ long snapper since 2017.
- Tom Flacco, QB, Towson: Yes, Joe Flacco, who’s 35, has a brother coming out of college. Tom is the youngest of the Flacco kids. TBD on his elite status.
- Darnay Holmes, CB, UCLA: His dad, Darick, played running back for five years, mostly for the Bills.
- Charlie Heck, OL, UNC: Charlie’s father, Andy, was an NFL offensive lineman for 12 seasons, spent with the Seahawks, Bears, and Washington. He’s now the Chiefs’ offensive line coach.
- Matt Hennessy, C, Temple: His brother, Thomas, is the Jets’ long snapper, a job he’s had since 2017.
- Lavert Hill, CB, Michigan: Younger brother of Lano, a safety for the Seahawks who was drafted in the third round in 2017.
- Isaiah Hodgins, WR, Oregon State: His father, James, was an NFL fullback for seven seasons and was a member of the Rams’ Super Bowl XXXIV team.
- Brycen Hopkins, TE, Purdue: Son of Brad Hopkins, a two-time Pro Bowler who played 13 seasons with the Oilers and then the Titans when the franchise moved.
- Austin Jackson, OT, USC: Grandson of Melvin Jackson, an OL for the Packers from 1976-80.
- Trishton Jackson, WR, Syracuse: His cousin is former NFL receiver Braylon Edwards, a 2005 first-round pick by the Browns.
- Van Jefferson, WR, Florida: Van’s father, Shawn, had a 13-year NFL career as a wide receiver, playing for the Chargers, Patriots, Falcons, and Lions.
- Collin Johnson, WR, Texas: Son of Johnnie, who was a first-round pick as a defensive back out of Texas and is in the College Football Hall of Fame. He played 10 seasons in the NFL, mostly with the Los Angeles Rams.
- Cole Kmet, TE, Notre Dame: Nephew of DT Jeff Zgonina, who had a 17-year NFL career and is currently on Ron Rivera’s coaching staff in Washington. His father, Frank, was drafted in the fourth round in 1992 by Buffalo, too.
- Zack Moss, RB, Utah: His cousins are Santana Moss, a longtime NFL receiver, and Sinorice, who spent four years with the Giants.
- Julian Okwara, DE, Notre Dame: His brother is current Lions DE Romeo Okwara.
- Lamical Perine, RB, Florida: Cousin of Dolphins running back Samaje Perine, and is also a distant relative of Jaguars linebacker Myles Jack.
- Bryce Perkins, QB, Virginia: His brother is Paul, a running back who was most recently a member of the Ravens’ practice squad in early 2020. His father, Bruce, briefly played in the NFL, while his uncle Don was a six-time Pro Bowl back with the Cowboys.
- J.R. Reed, S, Georgia: His dad is Jake Reed, a 12-year NFL veteran who played receiver for the Saints and Vikings. His uncle is Dale Carter, the Chiefs’ first-round pick in 1992 who played for 14 season in the league. His cousin is fellow safety prospect Nigel Warrior, Carter’s son.
- Jon Runyan Jr., OL, Michigan: Son of Jon, who spent 14 years in the NFL and was later elected to the U.S. House of Representatives for New Jersey, where he served from 2011-15.
- Alex Taylor, OL, South Carolina State: Nephew of Pierson Prioleau, who played 12 seasons as a defensive back in the NFL and won a Super Bowl XLIV with the Saints.
- Cody White, WR, Michigan State: His dad, Sheldon, was a cornerback for six seasons in the NFL. He also worked for 19 years in the Detroit Lions’ front office before joining the MSU recruiting staff.