And when you have two older brothers that have made it in the pros -- at the exact same position -- it certainly works in your favor.
Such is the case for Washington cornerback Desmond Trufant. Brothers Marcus -- a first-round pick in 2003 -- and Isaiah -- currently a New York Jet -- have both seen their fair share of success in the league. Now Desmond has the attention of NFL scouts, and he wants to keep up the family name at the next level.
"It’s definitely a milestone," Trufant said at the NFL Scouting Combine. "It’s big for our family and our city. And so I’m just going to continue it going."
He put up big-time numbers in college for the Huskies after earning a starting spot early in his freshman season, starting the final nine games of the year and never looking back.
He started 45 consecutive games before an injury caused him to miss one game in 2012, but he bounced back to start the team's final game of the regular season and its bowl game. In that time, he accumulated 195 tackles, 8.5 tackles for loss, six interceptions, 33 passes defensed, two sacks, three forced fumbles and five fumble recoveries.
The team captain was named first-team All-Pac 12 and second-team All-America by FoxSportsNext.com as a senior in 2012.
"We did a lot of man-to-man," Trufant said of his time at Washington. "I feel like I’m a man-to-man corner. I can play zone as well, but I feel man is my strength. In the league you’ve got to be able to man up. The receivers are great. You’ve got to be able to read and react, and be out there on that island. And it’s definitely helped me being at UW."
As far as moving on to the next level, many believe Trufant will be a first-round pick, maybe as high as the second cornerback taken behind Alabama's Dee Milliner.
Raiders Head Coach -- and former Broncos Defensive Coordinator -- Dennis Allen told DetroitLions.com at the Senior Bowl that Trufant has the "moxie" and "swagger" to make it in the NFL. His talent was on display during the week of pracitces in Mobile, Ala., and he made two solo tackles in the game for the North squad.
The next question was his speed.
"Corners and wideouts are the two most critical 'speed positions' and all the teams are waiting to see what guys run," NFL Network draft analyst Mike Mayock said at the combine. "(The 40-yard dash) is a big deal for a lot of the top- rated corners because most of them are what college coaches call boundary corners; they play into the boundary. Typically a boundary corner in college football is speed-deficient but smart, tough and instinctive. I need to find out, as does the whole league, (Mississippi State cornerback Johnthan) Banks, (Florida State cornerback Xavier) Rhodes, Trufant, how fast are these guys?"
Trufant answered that with authority, running a 4.38 40, the third-fastest of all cornerbacks at the event. He also ran a 3.85 20-yard shuttle, second-best among cornerbacks. His athleticism was also on display, as he notched the third-best vertical jump and 12th-best broad jump. His 16 bench-press repetitions tied for sixth-best among corners, as well.
The cornerback said he wasn't going to let his opportunity go to waste.
"I have been waiting for this opportunity my whole life," he said. "All the workouts, all of the season work, all the games – everything is coming down to this moment. I’m very excited."
The fact that his brothers took such different paths to the NFL gave Trufant lessons he is taking with him on his journey. Isaiah was the 2010 UFL Defensive Player of the Year before he was signed to the Jets' practice squad late in 2010. He then played in 13 games in 2011 and even started a game in 2012. Marcus, meanwhile, was a first-round pick of the Seattle Seahawks, where he spent the past 10 seasons.
"My brother Isaiah, he definitely took the long road," Trufant said. "He’s a very resilient person. It just shows that you never give up on your dream. People might say that you can’t do this or you can’t do that, or you’re too short or you’re not big enough. He just kept working. And I’m taking that to my game. I’m very resilient. My brother Marcus went through the same process that I’m going through. And I’ve learned a lot from him – just be myself and do what I’m doing."
He hopes that his strengths, which he said include his instincts, feet, quickness, competitiveness and leadership, will help him carry on that family tradition starting with this April's NFL Draft.
"I love my brothers, love my family," he said. "And I’m just going to keep the legacy going."