Let's Grade Some 2023 NFL Draft Picks Based On Name Only
Never judge a book by it's cover. Judge it by the name on the cover. I mean, what else are you going to do, read it? Ha!
That's gonna be the vibe of this comprehensive 2023 NFL draft name analysis. Look, we all know instant draft grades are the most pointless, stupidest things in the world. All these experts who review hours and hours of film (reading the book so to speak) end up telling us Seattle gets an F for drafting Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner and Russell Wilson with their first three picks. Or, take this random quote from "The Sporting News" and see if you can guess what 2015 top-billed wide receiver it was referencing.
"He had fewer than nine catches in only two games and failed to score a touchdown once in seven games".
That'd be Kevin White who would go on to have fewer than nine catches in 30/30 NFL games and fail to score a touchdown in 30/30 games. The point is, it doesn't matter how much of "the book" you read, so why not just read the title - or name - of the player and make a hot take from that? That's what we're doing here. Of course it wouldn't be me if I didn't support my takes with stats to prove my point. This should be fun. Let's get to it.
Tanner McKee. Quarterback. Grade: Double F
For decades people named Tanner understood they were not meant to play in the NFL. Those days are no more. The very first Tanner to ever play in the NFL was Tanner Purdum in 2010 who spent five years playing every snap at special teams but was not drafted so didn't show up on the above graph. A few others have sprouted up the cracks, but the only other quarterback named Tanner was Tanner Lee from 2018 who went on to never play a single snap. Yet somehow here we are four years later and another QB named Tanner entered the draft. Not Tanner Lee, but Tanner McKee. Hmmm. Very suspicious if you ask me. Who's to say he didn't just go back to school under a fake name for four years (2019-2022) to get a second chance to take a snap in the NFL?
Let's check out the mugs. Tell me these aren't the first faces AI would create when given the input formula of "Tanner":
Nice try Tanner. You failed once. You'll fail again. Double F.
Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Quarterback. Grade: All Time #1 in QB Characters in Last Name
I like this kid a lot. I've never seen him play. I don't know what school he went to. Doesn't matter. Most characters in a last name ever for a drafted quarterback. This matters because extra embroidering on the jersey gives a little more weight and sturdiness on your throws. This is a biomechanical fact. Don’t believe me? Here's the all time QB last name character count list. Big Ben's last name was holding the record down for almost 20 years. (Don't look at how shitty all the other top names are)
In case you're wondering, Tanner Lee ranks #1075/1086. Now we know why he added a few letters to make "Mckee".
Max Duggan. Quarterback. Grade: Max Minus
There's a lot on Max's shoulders despite the fact that he was the 239th pick of the draft. Max used to be a popular name back in the early days of the NFL before almost going extinct in the 70s. But it's gained a little momentum in recent years and it's going to be up to Max to keep this momentum going.
Also, Duggan was the 14th and final quarterback selected of the 2023 draft. Notable 14th selected quarterbacks of a draft include Ryan Fitzpatrick, Jeff Driskel, Brad Johnson and… wait, did I say notable? Fun fact, the latest quarterback ever taken in a draft was a guy named Neal Jeffrey in the 20th round in 1975. Neal was a steal too as he would go on to hold the NFL's all time career completion percentage record at 100 percent (minimum two career passes and 11 total passing yards / 0 touchdowns).
Hendon Hooker. Quarterback. Grade: $300 (but no kissing)
Here's a stat: 75% of all the Hookers that have ever been solicited by NFL teams are still performing today. Malik, Amani, and now Hendon. All three were selected in the top-four rounds, so don't you dare call any of them cheap. That leaves us with one Hooker unaccounted for. As a 5th rounder, he was neither cheap nor overvalued. Quite literally, the Browns got themselves a
Fair is still the only Hooker in NFL history that was paid to grab balls, but now we have Hendon that will get paid to let others grab his.
Joe Tippman. Offensive Lineman. Grade: Destined to get tipped over
You just can't have your last name be Tippman and play a position in which the very thing your name describes is exactly what the defense is trying to do to you every play. This is a complete catastrophe. Really, the only way this could be worse is if his first name was Tanner. Also, imagine the pressure this guy is always under when signing the check at dinner.
Zay Flowers. Wide Receiver. Grade: Wrong Position
Flowers is a defensive back name and everyone knows it. If not that, definitely something on defense. Unless the Ravens make the switch with this kid, this isn't going to work out. I'll show you what I mean. Let's take a quick peak at everyone named "Flowers" drafted since 1969.
The only two wide receivers drafted have 'NA' for final season played because they never actually played a down in the NFL. Still think this kid has a chance at receiver? Well let's look at the final name on this list: Richmond. While he played DB in the NFL, he was a wide receiver in college. But Dallas knew better and switched him to DB despite Richmond playing a total of zero defensive snaps in college. If the Ravens know ball, they'll study history and follow suit.
Stetson Bennett. Quarterback. Grade: Has a Ceiling of a Bud Schwenk if not a Butch Songin, but is no Brandon Weeden
Everyone talks about how old Stetson is, but did you know Hendon Hooker is also 25 years old? Many people say this is too old. But certainly there's quarterbacks drafted at age 25 or older who had successful careers. Right? Let's pull a list of them in order of career passing yards:
That's… a tough list. Shout out Pat Brady for playing three years and passing for less total yards than seasons played by Tom Brady. But get a look at how many poor saps we have this year in the red highlights. Five! This destroys the 1947 record of two drafted QBs aged 25+. I don't think any of them have a chance because none of the teams that drafted them reside in a city that starts with "C", which apparently is a requirement to get on the top of this very, VERY sad list. Maybe one of these guys is the next Schwenk or Weinke but it doesn't look good.
That's all I got. I think you'll find three years down the line that my grades stack up with the average pundit who wasted their time watching college football games instead of just reading the title of the book. But enough of what I think. What do you think? What names struck you the right/wrong way and why? Also, will Tanner Lee/McKee finally get his first NFL snap? What should the moneyline of that be anyway? I kinda want in.