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29 NFL prospects determine who has the best fast food french fries

Chick-fil-A, Five Guys, McDonald’s, and Checkers were favorites — but which french fry reigned supreme for the class of 2020?

McDonald’s restaurant in Moscow’s Pushkin Square ahead of 30th birthday Photo by Alexander Shcherbak\TASS via Getty Images

I had several good questions to ask NFL Draft prospects at the scouting combine last week. Pages and pages of notes were written in advance of this opportunity to quiz the league’s next wave of stars about their resumes and what the next steps in their gridiron careers may be. We talked about technique, position changes, and the challenges of making the leap from college football to the NFL.

We also talked about french fries.

Yep, the tail end of a good chunk of my interviews in Indianapolis was spent on one off-topic question: Who has the best french fries in fast food?

It’s either a totally inconsequential or, if you believe small decisions make the man, a completely essential question. Fast food fries are the perfect side to an imperfect meal, a deep-fried staple nearly impossible to replicate at home. No two companies make theirs the same way — shoestring, crinkle-cut, waffle, twice-baked, skin-on. Some coat their fried potatoes with sea salt. Others go with a cajun mix. McDonald’s just decided to roll with whatever food scientists deemed the most addictive.

It’s a question with a hundred different answers. It’s a look into a player’s psyche beyond the rote answers they’d prepared about 40 times and trying real hard. The answers I got mostly swung between two sigils of crispy, creamy potato wonderlands, but also varied significantly depending on position groups.

Here’s what I found in Indianapolis. Please allow this information to taint your opinion of your favorite team’s third-round picks this April.

Tight ends/wide receivers/running backs

  • Charlie Taumoepeau, TE, Portland State: Chick-fil-A
  • Isaiah Coulter, WR, Rhode Island: Chick-fil-A
  • John Hightower, WR, Boise State: Five Guys
  • Aaron Parker, WR, Rhode Island: Chick-fil-A
  • Darrell Stewart, WR, Michigan State: Five Guys
  • Benny LeMay, RB, Charlotte: Checkers

TE/WR/RB count: Chick-fil-A 3, Five Guys 2, Checkers 1

Offensive linemen

  • Kyle Murphy, OT, Rhode Island: Five Guys
  • Colton McKivitz, OT, West Virginia: Chick-fil-A
  • Alex Taylor, OT, South Carolina State: Chick-fil-A
  • Danny Pinter, OT, Ball State: Arby’s

OL count: Chick-fil-A 2, Five Guys 1, Arby’s 1

Defensive linemen

  • McTelvin Agim, DT, Arkansas: McDonald’s
  • Khalil Davis, DT, Nebraska: Wing Stop
  • Carlos Davis, DT, Nebraska: Wing Stop
  • Rob Windsor, DT, Penn State: Five Guys
  • Broderick Washington, DT, Texas Tech: Wing Stop
  • Derrek Tuszka, DE, North Dakota State: doesn’t eat fast food

DL count: Wing Stop 3, McDonald’s 1, Five Guys 1, eating healthy like a grown adult 1


  • Carter Coughlin, LB, Minnesota: Lion’s Tap (he prefaced this by clarifying it was not fast food. I allowed it, because it looks good as hell even if the fries look like basic crinkle-cut standbys).
  • Logan Wilson, LB, Wyoming: Wendy’s
  • Justin Strnad, LB, Wake Forest: Checkers
  • Tanner Muse, S/LB, Clemson: Five Guys

LB count: Five Guys 1, Checkers 1, Wendy’s 1, Lion’s Tap 1

Defensive backs

  • A.J. Green, CB, Oklahoma State: Checkers
  • Essang Bassey, CB, Wake Forest: Chick-fil-A
  • Lavert Hill, CB, Michigan: Arby’s
  • Javelin Guidry, CB, Utah: McDonald’s
  • Stantley Thomas-Oliver, CB, Florida International: McDonald’s
  • Kindle Vildor, CB, Georgia Southern: Chick-fil-A
  • BoPete Keyes, CB, Tulane: Five Guys
  • Nevelle Clarke, CB, Central Florida: Checkers
  • Myles Bryant, CB/S, Washington: McDonald’s

DB count: McDonald’s 3, Checkers 2, Chick-fil-A 2, Arby’s 1, Five Guys 1

The final results

Chick-fil-A: 7

Five Guys: 6

Checkers: 4

McDonald’s: 4

Wing Stop: 3

Arby’s: 2

Wendy’s: 1

Lion’s Tap: 1

Not eating fast food because of good decisions: 1

Congrats to Chick-fil-A, which proved waffle fries are the superior option for hungry college athletes, especially if they’ve got a little bit of potato skin on them. Five Guys is there to pick up the slack on Sundays. Checkers, also known as Rally’s depending on where you are, simply proved it needs more locations above the Mason-Dixon Line to spread the gospel of seasoned fries.

Please let me know where you stand on the debate in the comments — and which position group you belong in.