Hut One, Hut Two: 3rd Annual Funniest Names in the NFL Draft Poll

“Baseball players are smarter than football players.  How often have you seen a baseball team penalized for too many men on the field?”–Jim Boutan

I don’t know if baseball players are smarter than football players.  But I do know that, in recent years, football players certainly have had a leg up on baseball players in one respect: funny names.  One need only look at the previous two editions of Funniest Name in the NFL Draft to realize this.  Not only were the 2013 poll winner Barkevious Mingo, 2014 poll winner Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix and 2014 runner-up Jadaveon Clowney over the top  funnynames,  but all three of them were high first round picks.  Clowney was actually last year’s overall number one.

But this brings us to a dilemma.  It is well known that, in any professional sport, some years produce deep draft crops, some not so much so.  I don’t know about athletic talent, but this year’s funny name draft class is just not as over-the-top all-star as the past two years.  And the likely first round is totally devoid of candidates.  That said, the field is wide open and full of lower round candidates whose names look like an explosion in a Lithuanian newsprint factory.  Be careful pronouncing some of these,  your tongue and lips might cramp.

Without further ado, here are this year’s nominees, peppered with quotes that prove that Yogi Berra has nothing on the pundits of pigskin.

Jay Ajayi--his hair is longer than his name, and more symmetrical!

Jay Ajayi–his hair is longer than his name, and more symmetrical!

Jay Ajayi, RB, Oregon State–He was mostly overshadowed by cross state rival Oregon’s offense, better known for the passing and scrambling of QB Marcus Mariota–but Ajayi is one of the top running backs in this year’s field and a likely second round pick.  Note that if you drop the vowels at the beginning and end of his last name, he could give perennial Minor League Baseball Moniker Madness also-ran Jose Jose a run for his money as best repetitive name in sports.  Anyway, I don’t know if he’ll win the funny name poll, but he has the funniest hair, hands down.  Likely draft position: 2nd round.

“Nobody in football should be called a genius.  A genius is a guy like Norman Einstein.”–Joe Theismann

Obum Gwacham, Defenseive End, Oregon State–What’s worse than being a running back overshadowed by a cross state team known for prolific passing-based offense?  Being a defender on either taeam.  But while Gwachum will likely go in the late rounds of this year’s draft, he’s my early even money favorite to win the funny named poll.  He was born in Nigeria, and considering he’s not the only one of his countrymen in the running, maybe there was an explosion in a Nigerian Scrabble® factory.  By the way, his name, in the native tongue, means “son of god.” If he can walk on wet Astroturf, I wouldn’t bet against him.  Likely draft position: round 6 or 7.

“People say I’ll be drafted in the first round–maybe higher.”–Craig Heyward

Jim Otto--the original double 0

Jim Otto–the original double 0

Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Defensive End, UCLA–The second of three Nigerians in the field, I don’t recommend trying to say  this name too quickly.  You could hyperventilate and pass out.  Hey, I just nominate them, I don’t pronounce them.   I pity the TV commentators who will have to do so.  Maybe they will just call him “O O” and they could even give him a double zero Jersey number, like Jim Otto.  Likely draft position: 2nd round.



 “I want to rush for 1,000 or 1,500 yards, whichever comes first.”–George Rogers



Hroniss Grasu–Center, Oregon–First things first. That’s  three candidates so far from Oregon, and all of the first four from the Pac-12.  Grasu might be a center, but the country is clearly off-center in funny-named players this year.  For geographical origin diversity, Grasu is of Romanian decent.  His parents emigrated from Romania to Los Angeles in 1982 and opened Greco’s Roman Pizza on Hollywood Boulevard, which is still in business today.  Romanian New York pizza?  Only in L.A.  Likely draft position: round 3.

“I have two secret weapons: my legs, my arms and my brain.”–Michael Vick

Ali Marpet–Center, Hobart College–While we’re going for geographical diversity, let’s also throw in ethnic and academic variety as well.  As an economics major at Division III Hobart, Marpet seemed more likely headed to Wall Street than the NFL.  Then the scouts noticed him and the rest, as they say, will soon be history.  Marpet was named to the Jewish Sports Review’s 2013 All-America Team.  Likely draft position: 2nd or 3rd round.

“If defensive linemen’s I.Q.’s were five points lower, they’d be geraniums.”–Russ Francis

Xzavier Dickson–Outside Linebacker, Alabama–It’s hard not to include any Xaviers in any funny name accounting.   Dickson is borderline to even be picked in the draft at all this year, but hey, we had two Xavier’s in last year’s poll–I just had to continue the tradition.  But that spelling: Xzavier!!?   No, that’s not a typo–well, not here, but  maybe on his birth certificate.  I just couldn’t resist including this one–though maybe he’s more suited for The Blog of Oddly Spelled Names.   Likely draft posit: Round 7, or undrafted free agent.

That does it for the ballot nominees.  Among the also-rans eligible for write-in are Jaquiski Tartt, SS, Samford; Jeremiah Poutasi, OG, Utah; Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, CB, Oregon (another Oregon player of Nigerian descent!); Deiontrez Mount, OLB, Louisville; and Kaleb Eulls, DT, Mississippi State.

Perhaps it’s not as rich a crowd as in the previous two years, but they are still worthy of note.   The draft begins tomorrow night, but our voting opens now.  The balloting closes at noon EDT, one week from today–results will be reported in next weeks Funny Names in the News.  Vote as often as you like, but don’t forget the words of Joseph Stalin: “The people who cast the votes don’t decide an election, the people who count the votes do.”   Mwah-ha-ha.



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About Mark Sackler

"The best way to predict the future is to invent it."-Alan Kay; Let's invent a better future, together.
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26 Responses to Hut One, Hut Two: 3rd Annual Funniest Names in the NFL Draft Poll

  1. Pingback: Time Out: 3rd Annual Funniest Name in the NFL Draft Poll – The Millennium Conjectures™

  2. markbialczak says:

    I gotta go with Xzavier Dickson, Mark, because his parents couldn’t figure out which letter was the right one and said what the heck, go with both of them.

  3. kerbey says:

    Before I read past the first paragraph, I have to say that we spent the morning at the pediatrician, and the walls were covered with children’s book covers, brightly-colored and nearly all with animals. So Barkevious Mingo brings to mind a devious, barking dingo, who should clearly have his own book re: his back alley adventures, knocking over milk bottles and chasing paper boys and perhaps hopping a train a la hobos, since he is so devious. He will obviously sound like Steve Irwin. Back later when I finish the whole post.

  4. kerbey says:

    Okay, so Obum Gwachum. That sounds like a Native American name to me. Maybe I’m thinking of Wampum beads. Or a fertility specialist: Ovum, Watch ‘Em. In any event, that’s a lot of Nigerians and Oregonians. Nice touch with the quotes, and the near-geranium intellect. Then again, I have suffered zero concussions in my life, so perhaps I would be quoting about rocket surgery and the like, if I were constantly being tackled.

    Xzavier is a travesty. Like Aleckzsander, right? That’s redundant. Now, Tartt and Poutasi, I like that combo. A good lawfirm. Or a dog buddy flick along the likes of Tom Hanks’ “Turner and Hooch.” Channing Tatum plays Tartt and a Dogue de Bordeaux plays Poutasi. And then the other Mark can review it and tell us not to waste our money.

  5. Arto says:

    Jaquishi Tartt sounds like a wonderful dessert served at the end of one of those unexpectedly expensive meals you get at an ambiguously European restaurant somewhere like the Atlanta airport. I hope he gets drafted in the first round, maybe higher.

    Love the quotes, those all brought a smile to my face to match the one generated by these names. You gotta love drafts, where they pull together hundreds of names in one list and let us just go wild.

    I voted for Hroniss, just because that first name is like an unfortunate scrabble position. Is the “h” silent? Is the pizza good? A lot of questions.

  6. I can’t decide which I like better, the names or the quotes. Both made me laugh. 🙂

  7. ksbeth says:

    think xzavier’s parent was worried about getting it wrong, so just threw both in the mix

  8. Dave says:

    Mark, I love the Iron Head Heyward reference! Reminds me of his Zest Body Wash commercials back in the day!

  9. Anthony says:

    You’re not the only one who has noticed this… check out this fantastic Key & Peele sketch:

  10. marksackler says:

    Uh Oh, I’m going to have to change my vote. My NY Giants took Owam…Owbma…oh hell…just call him ” O O”

  11. Pingback: Funny Names in the News Vol. 103 – Range Anxiety Edition | The Blog of Funny Names

  12. Funny post on a funny blog!

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