With football fans looking forward to the 2014 NFL draft in May, some might wonder about a new influx of nicknames moving into the league. Right at the top might be one of the most infamous nicknames in college football of all-time – a nickname that will either become legendary or dissipate in the professional ranks. That’s Heisman Trophy-winning Johnny Manziel with his Johnny Football moniker.
With that nickname looming large, I ranked nicknames from the first round and early second round by when I thought they might be selected and what team would pick them.
2. (Rams) Jadeveon Clowney (DE) College: South Carolina. Doo Doo. His mother, Josenna, gave him the nickname after her favorite song by 2 Live Crew rapper Luke: “I Wanna Rock (Doo Doo Brown).” The song had a line: “Doo Doo Brown; the brand new brother in town; yeah, boy, dope sound.”
7. (Buccaneers) Teddy Bridgewater (QB) College: Louisville. Gump. In high school, his backup quarterback, E.J. Hilliard, was called Gump. Bridgewater said, “All of his jokes were related to the movie Forrest Gump, so everyone would call him Gump. On the field, we just started calling each other Gump,” Bridgewater said. They also said it was an acronym for “Great Under Major Pressure.”
8. (Viking) Johnny Manziel (QB) College: Texas A&M. Johnny Football.
9. (Bills) Mike Evans-USA (WR) College: Texas A&M. The Beast. He gave himself the nickname in high school. Mikey. This is what friends and family call him.
10. (Lions) Justin Gilbert (DB) College: Oklahoma St. Pretty Boy. Michigan State CB Darqueze Dennard calls him Pretty Boy. Gilbert said, “He makes fun of me because I always take selfies on my phone.”
13. (Rams) HaSean Clinton–Dixon (S) College: Alabama. HaHa. “My grandmother has been calling me that since I was a little kid, so just been a little kid thing,” Clinton-Dix said.
13. (Bears) Aaron Donald (DT) College: Pittsburgh. Donald Devastation. Notre Dame head coach Brian Kelly called Donald a “one-man wrecking crew.”
19. (Jets) Brandin Cooks-USA (WR) College: Oregon St. Sonic Boom. He’s a sprinter with speed to burn.
23. (Bengals) Darqueze Dennard-USA (DB) College: Michigan St. Country. He’s from rural Georgia – the town of Dry Branch in Twiggs County. The town is not even a one-stoplight town. They only have one caution light.
25. (Chargers) Louis Nix (NT) College: Notre Dame. Irish Chocolate. He gave himself the nickname.
28. (Panthers) Jason Verrett (CB) College: TCU. Feeva.Verrett said, “It’s just a little nickname. Feeva, not too much. It was a nickname I had in high school. I’m just a player that’s always hot.” Feeva Island. “I’m always pretty much man-to-man, on an island,” he added.
34. (Washington) Stephon Tuitt (DE) College: Notre Dame. TuTu. Likely it was derived from his name.
35. (Browns) Carlos Hyde (RB) College: Ohio St. El Guapo.
40. (Vikings) Xavier Su’a-Filo (OL) College: UCLA. X. That’s short for his first name.
45. (Lions) Jordan Matthews (WR) College: Vanderbilt. Sasquatch. Teammates at Vandy gave him the nickname. “Jordan always jokes that he’s like Sasquatch – he’s never been caught!” said Vanderbilt’s receivers coach Josh Gattis. “I know if he’s got the ball in his hand and he’s got a lead on you, you’ll never catch him, regardless of his speed.”
49. (Jets) Troy Niklas (TE) College: Notre Dame. Hercules. Teammates gave him the nickname because he 6-foot-6, 270 pounds, and all muscle.
Will these future players make a dent in National Football League? Only time will tell.