Sure, this weekend’s draft is flavored with talent and depth at wide receiver, but it’s also spiced with the descendants of NFL royalty.
It begins with Miami’s Kellen Winslow Jr., the son of San Diego Chargers Hall of Fame tight end Kellen Winslow Sr. The younger Winslow is a consensus top-10 pick, and greatness is predicted for the 6-foot-4, 251-pound tight end who plays with the fury of a hurricane.
Winslow is not the only NFL hopeful who will be thinking about his father this weekend.
Mississippi quarterback Eli Manning, expected to be the No. 1 pick in the draft, is the son of former New Orleans Saints quarterback Archie Manning. Colorado State quarterback Bradlee Van Pelt credits his toughness and love of the game to his father, Brad, a five-time Pro Bowl linebacker with the New York Giants. Miami running back Jarrett Payton is the son of the late Walter Payton, the Chicago Bears’ Hall of Fame running back.
Maurice Carthon—who won two Super Bowl championship rings as a fullback for the Giants and now the Dallas Cowboys’ offensive coordinator—no doubt will take a break from his duties this weekend to take a peek at his son’s fortunes. Ran Carthon, a running back from Florida, is expected to be selected late in the draft.
This second generation of NFL prospects admits filling a father’s shoes can be a burden, but most say it’s worth it.
—Patrick Saunders, The Denver Post “The family business: Draft loaded with sons of former NFL players”
Winslow was taken by the Browns and spent 5 seasons with the team. He has also played for the Buccaneers, Seahawks, Patriots and Jets. He is currently a free agent.
Eli Manning was taken by the Chargers and traded to the Giants. He is entering his 11th season with the team.
Bradlee Van Pelt spent three seasons as a backup with the Broncos and then the 2006 season with the Texans. His 2009 attempt to return to the Broncos as a safety was unsuccessful.
Jarrett Payton was signed by the Titans as an undrafted free agent after the 2005 team, his only season in the NFL. He also played in NFL Europe, the CFL and the Indoor Football League.
Ran Carthon was signed by the Colts as an undrafted free agent after the 2004 team and appeared sparingly through two-and-a-half seasons with the team. He finished the 2006 season with the Lions, his last in the league.