It’s already been a wild ride of a first round, but all good things must come to an end. We’ve got 16 more Detroit Lions names to break down before we head to the round of 32. If you need some catching up to do, check out the first three regions below:
Time to end this first round:
1 Ezekiel Ansah vs. 16 Tavon Wilson
The 2015 Name Bracket champion has something to prove this year. Ansah followed up his championship run by getting wildly upset by Quandre Diggs in the Sweet 16 in 2016.
One has to wonder if Ansah’s name has simply aged among Lions fans. How many times can one make an “answer” pun before it gets older than Ansah’s birth certificate? Still, it’s hard not to appreciate the biblical first name and prominent use of vowels.
Tavon Wilson isn’t a horrible name. While Wilson brings nothing to the table—and is the name of the most overrated character in cinematic history—Tavon is a pretty fun, unique name. It has a certain amount of swagger to it. According to SheKnow.com Tavon is a Scottish name meaning “twin.” As far as I know, Tavon Wilson doesn’t have a twin, but look, you learned something today!
8 Michael Rector vs. 9 Glover Quin
This is the part of the tournament where I reveal how much of an immature child I am. Michael Rector’s name makes me laugh. Every. Single. Time. The fact that I allowed someone with literally the most boring first name to earn an eight seed just shows how deep my immaturity runs.
His last name may be somewhat of a soft spot to Michael, as I’m sure it made him vulnerable to ridicule in elementary school and beyond, so let me say something nice about it. Rector is actually defined as “one that directs: leader” according to Merriam-Webster. If he were to meet me in person, I’m sure he’d direct me to grow the hell up. I respectfully decline, Michael.
Glover Quin has the advantage of nearly sharing his first name with one of the most underrated Sesame Street characters. In fact, I took this fact so far last year, that I tried to get Pride Of Detroit’s logo changed to this for April Fool’s Day:
5 Bruce Gaston vs. 12 Akeem Spence
Here’s a name I’ve been waiting to discuss. You may not even know who Bruce Gaston. The Lions signed him at the beginning of the month alongside the more familiar—and higher seeded—name Ego Ferguson.
But don’t underestimate Bruce Gaston as a name. Bruce is a name that conveys strength. Hell, it’s just a letter away from “brute.” Then there’s Gaston, one of the most dickish characters in Children’s folklore history. As great/horrible of a villain Gaston is, you have to absolutely give it up for the Disney World actor who plays him. He is completely unapologetic in his role of the chauvinist douchebag.
But he can back it up, too.
Anyways, Bruce Gaston is a pretty damn tough football name and a force in the Name Bracket.
He won’t have an easy route even in the first round because Akeem Spence is a solid 12 seed. Akeem is arguably one of the best first names in the tournament. Again we have an emphasis on vowels and you can pronounce his name with as many Es as you’d like. The more the merrier. Spence is a fine last name, but not too flashy.
4 Jeremiah Valoaga vs. 13 Khari Lee
Call me biased towards the name Jeremiah—and you’d be right—but the name Jeremiah Valoaga is a beautiful creation. Though it is admittedly a mouthful, it is like a rollercoaster ride: twists and turns and thrills about. Tell me you don’t love saying VAH-LOW-AGAAA. Go ahead, say it right into your computer or phone or piece of paper that you printed this article out on so that you can pin it to your refrigerator to show how proud of me you are.
Khari Lee is in a tough situation here. His name is in the same family of the Joe Dahl’s and Cole Wick’s of this tournament. Short, yet efficient enough to really pack a punch in just eight total letters. But even a weirdly placed ‘h’ isn’t likely to save him from a first-round exit.
6 Haloti Ngata vs. 11 Matt Asiata
This may be a Name Bracket first: Two names facing off against each other that rhyme perfectly.
Haloti is a very melodic sounding name, and followed up by a expertly punnable last name, makes for a versatile, professional-level name. But more than anyone in this tournament, Haloti Ngata suffers from name fatigue. Only Don Muhlbach is his elder in this tournament, but given Ngata’s popularity across the NFL, his name has been worn down more than the long-snapper’s.
Matt Asiata is a name fully bolstered by the surname. Five vowels to just two consonants is an excellent ratio in this Name Bracket, and one you’d be hard-pressed to beat. However, the best part of Asiata is that it reminds me of asiago cheese bagels from Panera Bread, which is one of life’s greatest gifts. Just look at that beauty. Now I know what I’m having for lunch today.
3 Tahir Whitehead vs. 14 Kerry Hyder Jr.
Tahir Whitehead is a name that sounds like it belongs in the Cretaceous Period. Me, Tahir. You, Whitehead.* As we’ve learned in tournaments past, Tahir is an Arabic name that means “pure” or “virtuous.” As we’ve only recently learned that we’ve all been pronouncing it wrong for the past few years. It is actually pronounced “tie-hear.” Adding another vowel sound to your first name? That’s a savvy, veteran move in the Name Bracket.
Kerry Hyder is a somewhat boring name, but if there’s one thing going for it, it’s the pun potential of his last name. In fact, I’m about to change the way your see and say his name forever. Hyder kids, Hyder wife. You’re welcome.
*I want it on record that I am fully aware cavemen/humans did not exist during the Cretaceous Period, but I like the word “Cretaceous” and this is the Name Bracket tournament. I say names I like, and there’s nothing you can do about it.
7 Graham Glasgow vs. 10 Brad Kaaya
Last year seemed to be the Year of Alliteration in the Name Bracket. This year is undoubtedly the Year of Vowel Appreciation, but I still respect alliteration. Hell, even the word alliteration starts with a vowel.
Anyways, no alliteration is more effective in this tournament than Graham Glasgow. That hard G sound is impactful. It can command the attention of a noisy room, like Jack Donaghy’s voice. He even throws in a third hard G in there for good measure, and it is not lost on me.
Brad Kaaya has a shot at an upset here, but for one simple reason: You cannot say his last name without making it sound like you’re performing a karate move. Is it immature? Sure. Is it culturally insensitive? Probably a little. But it’s inevitable. Anything that even slightly reminds me of Hong Kong Phooey is a strong positive in my book.
2 Zach Zenner vs. 15 Jarrad Davis
If there’s a name in this tournament that could match Graham Glasgow’s perfectly executed alliteration, it’s Zach Zenner. Just the boldness to go alliteration with the letter Z is something you’d only expect to see in fiction. It’s bold. It’s daring. It’s unique. However, there is little depth beyond that. If I had to re-seed, I’d probably drop Zenner to a five seed or so.
Jarrad Davis is a boring name. He only made the final 64-man field because he defied conventionality by spelling his name Jarrad instead of Jared. While I understand wanting to distance yourself from other Jared’s, the spelling has only caused frustration for me, as I continue to struggle to pronounce his name correctly, instead of “Jah-rod.” I’ve got nothing against the guy, and I even own his jersey now, but I’m not sure there’s a name I hate more in this tournament than Jarrad Davis.