Grading Rookie QBs On How Cool Their Name Is

Accuracy. Level of competition. Athletic variables. These things are all stupid and useless. There is only one metric that truly defines how great an athlete will be: how cool their name is. You know it, and I know it. There are objective facts in language and culture that create what we know as an athlete’s most recognizable and lasting brand…having a cool name. It’s important to determine these things before their career starts and bias kicks in. Things like:

Flow – how easy is it to say their name? Can you smoothly move from first to last name when saying it? (Trey Lance, Austin Ekeler)

Alliteration/Assonance/Rhyme – Are strong sounds present and repeated? Is it fun to say? (Ezekiel Elliott, Justin Jefferson)

Pre-Established Names – Do we have something or someone cool in real life with that name? (Mac Jones, Amon-Ra St. Brown)

Two First Names – Fan favorites, memorable, and fun. They’re born winners. (Tom Brady, Derrick Henry)

Uniqueness – Can they stand out or be known by just one name? (Saquon Barkley, Deebo Samuel)

Meta Names – Rare, but elite. Does their name tell us who they are? (D’Andre Swift, LaMelo Ball)

There are other factors, some negative, and we’ll talk about them. Without further adieu, we will break down the 2022 QB class and whether or not they have cool names…and what career they’ll have.

Kenny Pickett: D+

A solid quarterback at Pitt, Pickett is a projected first-round selection, but there is a significant problem. For crying out loud, his last name has “Pick” in it. Dude’s name might as well be Kenny Interceptions. Imagine if he was a running back? Kenny Fumblett? That’s abysmal. There is decent alliteration and flow, but it’s not enough to overcome the child-like “Kenny” and the interception-related surname.

Career projection: Backup

Malik Willis: A-

Malik is a strong, athletic-sounding first name. It’s fun to say and unique. Willis brings good alliteration as a surname. He’s set up for a “Watchu talkin ’bout, Willis?” line of t-shirts and signs, too. You can’t deny it’s got good flow and rolls off the tongue very well. It’s solid, and it puts him near the top of this year’s group.

Career projection: Star

Matt Corral: C+

Not great, not awful. Matt’s have pre-established success in the NFL at the QB spot, but there just isn’t many redeeming qualities. There isn’t a smooth flow, and my mouth feels tired after pronouncing all those sharp consonants. His last name reminds me of the Spongebob episode where Pearl tries to get “Coral” trending instead of “Cool.”

Career projection: Spot starter

Sam Howell: B

This is a classic-sounding All-American name right here. Sam has deep American roots to it and he earns a bonus by not going by Samuel (although it would’ve made his name rhyme, sort of). A tough call to make. Howell as a last name is intriguing. Immediate reminders of wolf imagery come to mind, so that’s a cool animal. There isn’t a strong feature to move it higher, but there’s nothing bad about this name at all.

Career projection: Spot starter

Carson Strong: A-

I like it, and you do too. Every time I hear this name, it sounds like Groot or Rob Gronkowski is complimenting Carson on his physical strength. Having a name as an athlete that can remind fans of something noticeable about you is always a win in the name value chart. We have some alliteration present and good flow. Good name. Editor’s Note: “Carson Strong” also sounds like a kid in your class named Carson got cancer so everyone has shirts showing their support. This name is polari

Career projection: Starter

Desmond Ridder: B+

Ridder juuuuuust missed the potential elite name value of having your last name be the current popular Batman villain. It’s like being named Desmond Jokey in 2008. But, I love the uniqueness and menacing alliteration of “Ridder.” Desmond is a strong first name, rooted in this generation through the Assassin’s Creed video game franchise. Going by “Dez” may have pushed him into the A- range.

Career projection: Starter.

If these don’t seem right to you, check out our 2021 class name grades.

CLASS NOTES: No double first names in this year’s class and nobody above A-. Overall, this is a weak QB class and it doesn’t bode well for their futures. Draft with caution.


Bailey Zappe: D-

This would be a F if the letter Z wasn’t so cool.

Kaleb Eleby: F

This is not a cool name. I can’t even come up with a way to make fun of it. Stay away.

Brock Purdy: D

D minus. All I can hear is Jon Voight yelling “I think I look kinda purdy, don’t you?!” in the 2004 classic Holes whenever I see this name. (It’s at 1:20 here)

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