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Best names in the 2017 NFL Draft, objectively

We here at Pride Of Detroit care too much about player names, so let’s not ignore it any longer.

NCAA Football: Arizona Bowl-South Alabama vs Air Force Casey Sapio-USA TODAY Sports

Some look forward to this point of the offseason for a variety of reasons—and I totally understand how they get their kicks—but it’s all fun up to a certain point. Everything that exists during draft season has a shelf life, and its expiration date isn’t far behind.

Combine and Pro Day measurements are neat until we have to decide how a college basketball player, who hasn’t played football since his freshman year of high school, fits in among the rest of this loaded class at tight end. Mock drafts are fun for all of like two weeks until mock drafters lose their minds and start to throw out some off-the-wall stuff; accordingly, #DraftTwitter goes bananas. Another good bit of fun is when the team with the first overall pick is at odds... with itself.

Ah, yes, all hallmarks of draft season.

But here at Pride Of Detroit, when the dust settles after the draft and the roster starts to become OTA-ready, we have thoughts of brackets and names and seedings.

That’s right, folks; it’s never too early to start thinking about the best names this NFL Draft class has to offer. Some could even end up posing a serious threat in the 2017 Detroit Lions Name Bracket Tournament.

Here’s a quick look at the top names, at each position, in this year’s NFL Draft.


DeShone Kizer

This is a no-brainer for the best name amongst quarterbacks. I’m a big fan of the uppercase letter after a prefix. It works for LeBron, so it should pay dividends for Kizer. Also, even though the spelling differs phonetically, Kizer’s last name is pronounced the same as Keyser, as in Keyser Söze. This is where form meets function because Kizer’s tape would leave you thinking it’s a different person under center each game.

Alek Torgersen

A name filled with so much intrigue and interesting sounds once you hit the surname. Don’t see it spelled with a ‘k’ all that often, so that’s a nice change of pace as well.

Dishonorable Mention - Mitchell Trubisky

Don’t try and reinvent who you are, Mitch. You went by Mitch all throughout college and now you’re trying to switch up? Who do you think you are, Rick Wagner? Shawn Carter said it best:

No matter where you go, you are what you are player/ And you can try to change but that's just the top layer/ Man, you was who you was 'fore you got here/

Running back

D’Onta Foreman

Look at this name and be happy it exists. The only thing holding it back is a last name popularized by “That 70s Show.” Don’t let that detract from the first name checking off a lot of boxes: Multiple capital letters, an apostrophe and a cool sound.

Samaje Perine

First name rolls off the tongue and would make you think this man owns a restaurant that serves only the fanciest of foods. Instead, Samaje runs people over—and will soon do it for a living. Definitely would prefer it if people refer to him as Samaje during telecasts instead of Perine, though.

Taquan Mizzell

Not sure if this guy will have his name called on draft day, but it’d be a treat if he does.

Wide receiver

JuJu Smith-Schuster

A definite contender for the best name available in this year’s class, this USC product would be a one-seed in any bracket for the team that drafts him. Multiple capital letters in both the first and last name, and a hyphenated last name. Good showing.

Cooper Kupp

Alliteration is always a plus, but when your last name is a homophone, it’s only going to strengthen your case. Kupp could be a target for the Lions on Day 2, and if that comes to fruition, I might be in the market for one of the newly designed jerseys with Kupp across the back.

Damore’ea Stringfellow

Enjoy the dynamics of the first name and how the apostrophe makes it all work. Stringfellow, as a last name, immediately puts you into “The Importance of Being Earnest” eating cucumber sandwiches, so that’s awesome too.

Tight end

David Njoku

Boring, ho-hum first name, but it’s offset by a surname that is equal parts intriguing aesthetically and cool sounding. Also, it not only spells the same way it sounds, but when you say it out loud, Lions fans get irate.

Jeremy Sprinkle

His last name is a verb. Next.

O.J. Howard

If you were born after 1994 and you have the first name O.J., the person(s) who named you have more guts than I’ll ever have.

Offensive linemen

Forrest Lamp

Along with JuJu Smith-Schuster, this is another bona fide No. 1 seed in any name bracket. Another appearance of a homophone, but then a homograph to follow. When something like this happens, you get an incredible juxtaposition of two concrete nouns, and we’re all winners—unless he’s drafted by the Packers.

Ryan Ramczyk

A special case where the top prospects at their position also have some of the best names. More alliteration, a Polish last name, but the word ‘Ram’ is also tucked in there for good measure. Not sure you could ask for a better if you’re an offensive lineman.

Jessamen Dunker

Not often when you see a name you’ve never seen before, and I can say with absolute certainty that I’ve never seen the name ‘Jessamen’ before now. This name would be much more boring if these were basketball prospects, but since it’s football, I’m on board with the last name.

Defensive linemen

Taco Charlton

Forrest Lamp is a great name, but you can’t talk about him by simply selecting an emoji. Edge, and not just as a rusher: Charlton.

Tanoh Kpassagnon

Pronounced as follows: /Tawn-oh pass-N-yo/

Also acceptable pronunciation: /maɡˈnifəsənt/

Larry Ogunjobi

Here’s the beginning of Ogunjobi’s draft profile on

The son of Nigerian immigrants, Olumide "Larry" Ogunjobi (Oh-ghun-JOE-bee) took up football as a high school sophomore.

I want to know so many more things about this guy, but for this current exercise, I have to know how and why they arrived at ‘Larry’ for his first name. Otherwise, they’re not tapping into the power of assonance which could lead to a marketing gold mine (O²).


Raekwon McMillan

The surname is enough to make me a fan—two capital letters, alliteration—but the first name makes him a sneaky candidate for best name in the entire class. No jokes, I’m not playing.

Tyus Bowser

First name looks like it could be a last name, but it totally works where it is. We call that rare. ‘Bowser’ shoots him up the board, partly because it shares the spelling and phonetics of Mario’s archnemesis, partly because we could call him King Koopa, but also because the name is definitely for a game-changer on defense.

Pita Taumoepenu

More from that changes which late-round guys have captivated all my interest:

Pita Taumoepenu (peet-tuh tao-mo-eh-pen-new) was born in Texas, his family moved to Tonga when he was three (where he learned to play rugby)...

Defensive back

Chidobe Awuzie

Not only is this defensive back class incredibly deep in talent, and not only is it also full of some of the best names in the draft, it’s also home to the best name in the draft.

Teez Tabor

We’re getting there...

Obi Melifonwu

Zeroing in on it...

Budda Baker


Leon McQuay III


Fish Smithson


Weston Steelhammer


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