We’re halfway through the first round of the 2017 Detroit Lions Name Bracket tournament, and we’re still experiencing some aftershock from the very first matchup of the tournament. While I’m keeping the polls up through the weekend for a minute chance that Winnemucca gets their act together, it’s almost a certainty that Jace Billingsley will be our first ever one-seed upset by a 16-seed.
But life moves on, and we have another 32 names to get to. Here are the 16 contenders coming out of the Toto’s “Africa” region. Let’s hurry, boy, they’re waiting just for us.
1 Miles Killebrew vs. 16 Travis Swanson
With Jace gone from the tournament, the stage is set for Miles Killebrew to walk away with this thing. Killebrew nearly won the tournament last year, giving Jace his all in the finals, but coming up just short.
I have to admit, I am 100 percent pulling for Miles in this tournament now. Aside from having a truly worthy name, he is the only Detroit Lion to publicly acknowledge the existence of the Name Bracket tournament (even if he did forget to give us a shout out):
Killebrew will have to first take down Travis Swanson, the most 90s name in the tournament. Travis screams, “I’m a skateboarder,” probably because of Blink 182’s Travis Barker, and Swanson just makes me think of those TV dinners that had the magic chocolate paste that somehow turned into a puffy brownie with 20 seconds worth of low radiation. That was the best part of TV dinners. The worst? Frozen corn that would turn into steaming corn served in a heavy corn water.
8 Kasey Redfern vs. 9 Cole Wick
I don’t really know what to make of Kasey Redfern. It’s a name that’s great on the surface. He defies conventionality by spelling Kasey with a “K” and his last name is a plant or a theoretical one—I’m no botanist. Redfern sounds like a plant you’d find in some video game that when mixed with a yellow herb would increase your player’s stamina for an extra 2 minutes. If only there was a holder in the NFL named Violet Sage, then the two could pair up and use invincibility for an entire NFL quarter.
Cole Wick, much like Joe Dahl, has such a condensed, efficient name. I love both names individually, and I love them combined. I’m not sure why I gave him such a low seed, to be honest.
If the John Wick series ever jumps the gun and gets to a sixth or seventh sequel, I hope they add an estranged family member named Cole Wick to the cast. He’ll be the comic relief, played by a bumbling Chris Pratt, who loses John Wick’s dog to the mafia. Cole will the play the happy idiot who manages to somehow help John along in his head-shooting ways to the top of the mafia. Only, GET THIS, Cole was playing dumb the entire time. He’s at the top of the mafia chain and he wants to pull John back in. John will tearfully shoot him in the head. It will be the worst movie ever.
5 Jared Abbrederis vs. 12 Rolan Milligan
If you’re a fan of Rs (AND WHO ISN’T?!), you’re going to love the name Jared Abbrederis. To say his name properly, all you really have to do is growl three times.
Because of his awesome name, Jared may have the best Twitter handle on the team: @abbrecadabra. Even though I’m not a fan of magic (I still can’t get over that they made “The Prestige” and “The Illusionist” in the same year), I have to give it up to Abbrederis here.
They say the 5 vs. 12 matchup is always the first-round matchup most vulnerable to an upset. Rolan Milligan is a very strong 12-seed, but he’s facing possibly the best five-seed in the tournament. He probably wants a mulligan so that he could keep rollin’ in the tournament. But, alas, he’s doomed for an early exit.
4 Johnson Bademosi vs. 13 Dontez Ford
I love the name Johnson Bademosi. Every little thing about it. Johnson as a first name. Love it. Leading off the last name with “Bad.” Love it. The suffix “mosi” means more in Italian. Okay, I made that up, but doesn’t it sound like it could be true? Just like fortissimo means very strong or loud, Bademosi sounds like extremely bad.
We recently learned that rookie receiver Dontez Ford could have a career as a rapper:
While normally that would be completely irrelevant in the Name Bracket, it suddenly puts his name into perspective. Normally, I don’t like throwing a Z in a name just for Z’s sake, but it makes a little more sense as a rap name. “Lil Dontez” or “Don Tez” or “Dontez D Menace” works a lot better with a Z in there.
Plus, he’s already buying into the Lions with the last name Ford. That has to count for something.
6 Laken Tomlinson vs. 11 Jalen Reeves-Maybin
I get the feeling we’re in for an upset here, and I prematurely disagree with all of you. I get it, hyphenated names are rare in this tournament, but verbosity doesn’t not equal quality. I do like the name Jalen, but Reeves-Maybin is perhaps the most disjointed, incongruent pairing of names you’ll see. They just don’t work.
That being said, Laken Tomlinson is probably ranked a little too high. Laken is a pretty solid first name, especially when you play in the Great Lakes State, but when you aren’t even the most famous Tomlinson in your profession, you’re not adding a lot to the conversation.
3 Cyrus Kouandjio vs. 14 Jake Rudock
You know this is a solid region when Cyrus Kouandjio is a three-seed. At first the name seems a little intimidating, but once you get to know it, it’s quite inviting. It is pretty much spelled exactly as you’d think, and the pronounciation is actually quite easy: “Kwan-Joe.” And when you really think about it, you’re pronouncing every single letter that’s there, and it’s quite a ride.
According to Pro-Football-reference.com, there are only three Cyruses to ever play the game. If Kouandjio stick around the league in 2017, he will be the longest tenured Cyrus in the history of the NFL. Also, Cyrus was a perfectly fine movie.
Last year, Jake Rudock was bounced in the first round as an 11-seed, and he has an even tougher route to the second round this year. If there’s one thing I appreciate about Jake Rudock’s name, it’s that I can easily weed out the ignorant Rudock-homers who think he should be starting by whether they spell his name with one or two Ds. For whatever reason, it’s two Ds every single time.
7 Cornelius Lucas vs. 10 Kenny Golladay
Cornelius Lucas was a solid five-seed last year, but when the Lions added Cornelius Washington this offseason, it stole all of the valor and originality from his name. Still, Lucas managed a seven-seed while Washington is all but eliminated as a 16-seed. I made a mistake, to be honest. Cornelius Washington works a lot better than Cornelius Lucas. I have nothing else to say. You should vote for...
Kenny Golladay. Kenny isn’t an original name at all, but I love people who stick with Kenny instead of moving to Ken. Kenny is so youth-filled and wondrous. It’s also the name of the annoying little kid in the sci-fi classic “Gamera.”
As for Golladay, I propose that every time he scores a touchdown in Ford Field, they play Madonna’s “Holiday,” but dub over Golladay. Madonna is even from Detroit. Celebrate, indeed.
2 Storm Norton vs. 15 Taylor Decker
There was no undrafted free agent signing I was more excited about that offensive tackle Storm Norton. How can you not love this name? It’s like if Ed Norton had chosen a career in professional wrestling instead of acting. Edward “The Storm” Norton.
Not only is Storm easily the most badass name in the tournament, but it pairs perfectly with Norton, like lamb and tuna fish. It’s definitely not the norm or good form to be born as Storm, but don’t mourn or forlorn, for he is sworn to reform the Name Bracket platform.
Taylor Decker. I’m sorry about your shoulder injury. I’m sorry about this first-round matchup. It’s just not a good month for you.