Alabama’s Patrick Surtain II and Florida State’s Asante Samuel Jr., are two of the top cornerbacks in this year’s NFL draft. If their names sound familiar, well, they should.
Surtain is the son of a standout cornerback with the same name who spent 11 seasons in the NFL, seven with the Dolphins and four with the Chiefs. A 2002 All-Pro who also made three Pro Bowls, Surtain was a star on special teams, too. The elder Surtain was selected in the second round (44th overall) in 1998.
Samuel’s dad, also with the same name, played 11 pro seasons, too. A fourth-round pick out of UCF, he won two Super Bowls with New England, where he spent his first five NFL seasons before going to Philadelphia for four years and Atlanta for two. Samuel twice led the league in interceptions (2006 with the Patriots, 2009 with the Eagles) and finished his career with 51 picks and six touchdowns.
Surtain II was a 2020 All-American.
Other draft eligibles this week whose fathers played in the NFL include Ohio State linebacker Tuf Borland, whose dad, Kyle, played that position for one season with the Rams; Georgia Tech LB David Curry (dad Buddy spent eight seasons in the league and was the 1980 AP Defensive Rookie of the Year for the Falcons); Stanford center Drew Dalman (father Chris had a seven-year NFL career as an offensive lineman and won a Super Bowl with the 49ers); and South Carolina CB Jaycee Horn (dad Joe was a four-time Pro Bowl wide receiver in his 12 pro seasons).
And Ohio State offensive lineman Wyatt Davis is the grandson of Pro Football Hall of Fame defensive end Willie Davis.
The Heisman Trophy rarely is a prognosticator of pro football success — consider such winners for the defensive players need not apply award as Johnny Manziel, Tim Tebow, Troy Smith and Eric Crouch.
When someone other than a quarterback wins it, particularly a wide receiver, the trend leans the other way, toward stardom.
Alabama’s DeVonta Smith took the 2020 Heisman. The previous three wideouts to enter the NFL with that hardware and as first-round picks were Desmond Howard (1991), Tim Brown (1987) and Johnny Rodgers (1972). Brown is in the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Howard was the 1997 Super Bowl MVP.
Smith and college teammate Jaylen Waddle are projected to be chosen Thursday night, making them the sixth pair of wide receivers from the same school drafted in the first round of the same draft since 1967. Alabama would become the first college program to have it occur in successive drafts. Henry Ruggs went 12th overall to Las Vegas, and Jerry Jeudy 15th overall to Denver last year.
In 2007, LSU’s Dwayne Bowe (23) and Craig Davis (30) were taken in the opening round, and so were Ohio State’s Tedd Ginn Jr. and Anthony Gonzalez (32). In 2001, Miami, Fla. WRs Santana Moss (16) and Reggie Wayne (30) got called early. And in 1997, it was Florida’s Ike Hilliard (7) and Reidel Anthony (16).
It’s quite possible that college teammates will be chosen consecutively in the opening round this year; it happens more often than people think. So if Alabama receivers DeVonta Smith and Jaylen Waddle go one after the other, don’t be surprised. Or maybe it will be Miami, Fla., edge rushers Jaelan Phillips and Gregory Rousseau. Or Virginia Tech tackle Christian Darrisaw and cornerback Caleb Farley.
Since 2000, guys from the same school have been selected consecutively eight times. In 2000, Penn State had the top two players, DE Courtney Brown and linebacker LaVar Arrington. Two years later, Texas tackle Mike Williams went fourth and defensive back Quentin Jammer fifth.
Two years after that, Miami, Fla., saw safety Sean Taylor selected fifth and tight end Kellen Winslow sixth.
In 2010, Oklahoma DT Gerald McCoy was the third pick, and OT Trent Williams went next. Three years after that, Alabama DB Dee Milliner and guard Chance Warmack were taken ninth and 10th overall.
In 2014, Texas A&M got the double with OT Jake Matthews (6) and WR Mike Evans (7). Two years later, it was Ohio State with DE Joey Bosa (3) and RB Zeke Elliott (4). Last year, once more it was the Buckeyes with DE Chase Young (2) and CB Jeff Okudah (3).