The 2012 NFL Draft All-Name Team
By now you've probably heard the name of every player who could possibly be chosen in the first round of the 2012 NFL draft.
If you're a real pigskin head, you've probably also looked at names of players who could go in the middle and late rounds of the draft.
Analyzing the draft means sifting through a lot of heights, weights, 40-yard dash times and statistics.
Every once in a while, however, a name stands out among all those numbers, either because it's funny, it sounds cool or it's just fun to say.
I've chosen the top 30 names among 2012 NFL draft prospects, grouped into 12 categories.
Some of these players are future stars, and some of them will get their only fame from this article before going out into the real world and getting jobs that pay only five-figure salaries.
But they're all on the same team: The 2012 NFL Draft All-Name Team.
UPDATE: It's only 29 names. I miscounted. Sorry.
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Best Names for Their Position
Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus might be the first member of the 2012 NFL Draft All-Name team to be drafted.
According to NFL draft guru Mel Kiper, via the Green Bay Post Gazette, the name is pronounced "Merciless." That's exactly how he acts toward opposing quarterbacks, leading the nation in 2011 with 16 sacks.
Appalachian State's Brian Quick actually is known more for his size (6'4" 220-pounds) than his speed. For a wide receiver, he ran a very pedestrian 4.55 in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.
However, Quick could be gone quickly in the draft. He might be picked as early as the second round and be the first Division I Football Championship Subdivision player chosen, according to NFL Draft Scout.
After blocking a field goal in the Mountaineers' monumental upset of Michigan in 2007, Quick went on to become the school's all-time leader in receptions (202), receiving yards (3,418) and touchdown catches (31).
Names Wasted on a Kicker and Punter
If your name sounds as cool as Brody McKnight, you owe it to the world to be famous so that everyone can say it and hear it.
Unfortunately, that name belongs to a kicker. NFL Draft Scout ranks the Montana senior 11th out of 13 kickers in this year's class. So not only will we not hear his name called at Radio City Music Hall, we'll be lucky to read his name in some three-paragraph newspaper story about a team signing undrafted free agents.
California's Bryan Anger is the top punter in the class, according to NFL Draft Scout, but who needs an angry punter? I'd much rather have an angry linebacker or defensive end blitzing opposing quarterbacks.
Most Original Names
You have to hand it to the parents of Arizona State linebacker Vontaze Burfict (pictured) and Texas running back Foswhitt Whittaker. They threw the book of baby names out the window and invented names.
Not only is there a good chance Burfict is the only man in the world named "Vontaze," but his last name rhymes with "perfect," even though we know he's far from perfect off the field and is likely a middle-round selection now because of it.
Whittaker's first name, according to NFL Draft Scout, combines his father's first name, Foster, and his last name.
I've heard of the Marlboro Man but I've never heard of the Winston Guy.
According to NFL Draft Scout, most people might not ever hear of Guy (pictured). The Kentucky strong safety is projected as a seventh-round pick or an undrafted free agent.
Miami tight end Chase Ford did not participate in the NFL Scouting Combine, even though his name should be added as a combine event that gauges players' speed in pursuing a car.
These Names Are Just Fun to Say
The name J.R. Sweezy might get a few giggles, but if I ever met the 6'5" 298-pound North Carolina State defensive tackle (pictured, left), I'd tell him he has the most bad-ass name ever. Look at his picture on NFL Draft Scout. I wouldn't want to mess with this guy.
Caleb McSurdy is another funny-sounding name and the Montana linebacker looks like he'd have more of a sense of humor about it. Still, he's 6'1" 245-pounds. I wouldn't want to get on his bad side, either.
Brigham Young running back JJ Di Luigi has the most enjoyable name to say in the 2012 NFL draft class. Unfortunately, NFL Draft Scout has him ranked 716th among all the prospects. So it's probably not a name anyone will get to announce at Radio City Music Hall.
The Fab Five
These five guys had perfectly acceptable names, but somewhere along the line, someone went the extra mile to make their names stand out.
Either their parents, one of whom is a former NFL player, added a little flair to the first names when they were born or one of their ancestors added a crucial piece to their last name.
Colorado State's free safety is no ordinary Elijah Smith. He's Elijah-Blu Smith (pictured, left).
"Bo Mitchell" would sound cool. "Levi Mitchell" would sound cool. But the parents of Eastern Washington's Bo Levi Mitchell didn't settle for one or the other. They put them together and now he's the starting quarterback of the 2012 NFL Draft All-Name team.
Former New Orleans Saints quarterback Bobby Hebert put a "T-" in front of his son's name, and that gets LSU center T-Bob Hebert on the all-name team.
You can find dozens of "Will Snyder"s in any phone book, but Duke kicker Will Snyderwine doesn't have to worry about being confused with any of them. His phone won't exactly be ringing off the hook on draft day, however. He's ranked even lower than Brody McKnight by NFL Draft Scout.
Tight end Phillip Supernaw of Division II Ouachita Baptist beats the odds and makes the all-name team so we can say, "It's a bird. It's a plane. It's Supernaw."
The book on Junior Hemingway, according to NFL Draft Scout, is that the Michigan wide receiver (pictured) is projected as a seventh-round draft pick or an undrafted free agent.
Memphis nose tackle Dontari Poe will be long gone by then. Poe looked like a late first-round pick, then he wowed everyone at the NFL Scouting Combine. Now we can forget about Poe becoming a Raven, which might have Edgar Allan Poe turning over in his grave.
That doesn't mean we can't have some fun with Poe's name, however. I have him going to the Kansas City Chiefs at No. 11. You'll just have to read my mock draft to learn about the intrigue that situation would bring.
Regardless of where he goes, Poe is a candidate to be the first member of the 2012 NFL Draft All-Name Team chosen on draft day.
When I say "household names," I don't mean that these are names everyone should know.
I mean that one of these players is named for part of a house and the other is named for a kind of house that any NFL draft prospect would be smart to avoid.
When you combine a wild first name like "Ishmaa'ily" with an everyday word like "kitchen," you have another member of the 2012 NFL Draft All-Name Team.
According to NFL Draft Scout, the first name is pronounced "Ish-MAIL-ee." I think you can pronounce the last name.
Ishmaa'ily Kitchen, a 6'1", 343-pound Kent State nose tackle, probably spends a lot of time in the kitchen to maintain the heft needed for his position.
No draft prospect wants to be caught spending time in the type of establishment that almost shares a name with California strong safety Sean Cattouse (pictured).
If you don't know what I'm talking about, there's an HBO series with a title you'd have if you changed one letter in "Cattouse."
For that reason, I confess that I can't help but smirk when I read that name.
They're All Fluff
If Central Michigan running back Paris Cotton had actually played in the Cotton Bowl, his name would be perfect.
But since he hasn't, Cotton has to show NFL scouts he's not too soft.
On the other hand, Carson Wiggs (pictured) has just the kind of goofy name I would expect a kicker to have.
"Mike Wiggs," "John Wiggs" or "Paul Wiggs" wouldn't do it for me. But somehow "Carson" is just enough of an uncommon first name to combine with "Wiggs" and get the Purdue product on the 2012 NFL Draft All-Name Team.
Wasn't Carson Wiggs part of Carnac's costume on "The Tonight Show?"
A Study in Contrasts
Who would you rather hang out with?
Buddy Jackson or Trinton Sturdivant?
Jackson (pictured, left), a Pittsburgh cornerback, certainly has a friendlier name. After all, of NFL Draft Scout's top 750 prospects, he's the only one named "Buddy."
But if Sturdivant wanted to hang out with me, I probably wouldn't say no to the 6'5" 312-pounder, even though his name makes him sound more like a guy who wears a smoking jacket than a Georgia offensive tackle.
If you're looking for alliteration, there's no better letter than "M" in this draft class.
We might hear the names of wide receivers Marvin McNutt of Iowa and Marquis Maze (pictured) of Alabama on the second or third day of the 2012 NFL draft.
Actually, "Marquis Maze" sounds like it could be another combine event.
Houston linebacker Marcus McGraw makes this unit of the 2012 NFL Draft All-Name Team because he just sounds like he should be wearing shoulder pads and a cowboy hat.
The Next Generation
We've seen these names before, but that doesn't make "Smelley" any less hilarious or "Toon" any less enjoyable to say.
Alabama fullback Brad Smelley is the younger brother of former South Carolina quarterback Chris Smelley. No, Smelley doesn't stink, at least not as a college player, according to NFL Draft Scout. There's a chance for a few chuckles on the third day of the draft if his name is called.
Wisconsin wide receiver Nick Toon (pictured) probably won't have to wait until the third day to hear his named called. NFL Draft Scout projects him as a third-round pick.
Toon is the son of former Jets receiver Al Toon. It will be a proud moment when the family, well, tunes in to watch the NFL draft.