I cant believe this offseason has gone by as fast as it has. The start of the NFL season is less than a week away, and on Wednesday night, we will get our first taste of real game action with the Giants and Cowboys. It also marks the NFL debut of our first rookies, as Morris Claiborne and David Wilson will be taking the field to start the 2012 campaign.
Both guys have a lot on their shoulders, one on each side of the ball for their respective teams. However, neither are at the top of the list of rookies with something to prove, not named Luck or Griffin.
Here are some of the guys every collectors will be watching this next week:
There has not been a running back drafted as high as Trent Richardson for six years. That is some craziness right there to designate the future of a franchise. Cleveland is lucky they have such a beastly guy to hand the ball off to, especially with a rookie QB taking snaps. His knee has already been an issue which is really concerning, but it is not wholly representative of his potential. His autographs have sold incredibly well as a result, as collectors see potential in a player with a great left tackle and some nice history in a great college career.
Being a running back in Tampa has been an exercise in patience over the last few years since Mike Alstott retired. The team in general has never been the offensive power that their defense is known for. With a talented QB and now Vincent Jackson and Mike Williams catching passes, the running game should open up. Martin showed some flashes of brilliance during the pre-season, but Boise State is not known for their tremendous success in the NFL. His cards have sold pretty well so far, considering he is at the end of the first round, but it could be Tampa fans and people hoping he turns into the next Demarco Murray.
Playing for the defending Super Bowl champions has proven to be quite the issue for some rookies, but Wilson has legitimately earned his spot as a viable option in the Giants’ offense. With Ahmad Bradshaw having questions about his potential as an NFL starter, Wilson could get some major playing time this year. Sure doesnt hurt that the WR corps in New York might be the best in the NFL, which should make sure that he has a lot of room to run. He has so far been one of the most under collected guys in the class considering how athletic and quick he is.
In this hobby, wide receivers are rarely valuable outside of their rookie year. Even though its one of the flashiest positions on the field, collectors gravitate towards QBs and RBs. What makes Blackmon’s case even more discerning is his issue with off the field conduct, which has already reared its ugly head before his rookie contract was even signed. As if that wasnt enough, Blaine Gabbert has shown improvement during the pre-season, but he has not had a great start to his own NFL career. With Maurice Jones-Drew holding out the entire off season, the only team in a bigger state of distress might be the New Orleans Saints. Not a good situation. Like Dez Bryant, his freakish talent and physical gifts have brought on initial value despite the above examples.
I didnt like Tannehill as a high draft pick, as his limited experience as a quarterback is scary for a number eight pick. Additionally, he is playing for bad team that got worse when they lost Brandon Marshall, and that makes me feel VERY worried for anyone who is holding Tannehill or collecting him. I have to believe that he will have a slow start to the season with no one to throw to, but who knows. Anything is possible these days, see the next person on the list.
A few days ago, I talked about Wilson as the one unexpected starter of the 2012 Rookie Class. As an exciting mobile quarterback, he has earned collector favor looking for him to be the face of a struggling franchise with no marketable presence on the field. Even though I despise judging player talent on intangibles, Wilson has shown a drive to be the number one guy in Seattle, even with an expensive free agent pick up that will have to sit on the bench in Matt Flynn. His autographs have almost quadrupled in value, which is odd considering his first talent is Baseball and not football. In fact, his Bowman Chrome cards were highly sought after before he was drafted in the NFL.
2012 Topps Finest Russell Wilson Superfractor Patch Auto 1/1 – just a ridiculous price.
Playing behind Michael Vick has proven to be a good situation for the backups on the bench. He has only played a full season once in his career, and Foles has shown that he might be worth a look if he ever does go down. Collectors have seen it too and have used the early releases as a sounding board for his current potential as a future starter.
2012 Topps Finest NIck Foles Superfractor Logo Patch Auto 1/1 – See the Wilson price, then double my surprise.
Because the QB situation in Arizona is about as unclear as it can be, Floyd’s status in the hobby has been diminished despite his college affiliation and his talent. Floyd had a great college career, and has Larry Fitzgerald to learn from. However, when John Skelton is throwing you the ball, there are major issues in potential. Fitz will catch the majority of the passes, and with Skelton not being a great passer, that leaves little else to go around. Arizona has the inside track for Matt Barkley or whomever ends up as the top QB draft pick, that spells someone new to get him the ball coming next season.
Because the Vikings have no real rookie that bears collecting, I will live vicariously through these guys. Ill say that Luck and Griffin will overshadow each of these guys until they show they can or cant play definitively. That means there are a lot of opportunities to step it up and buy in while you can. Of course, a very collectable class means good things for everyone, and personally I cant wait for this year to shake out.
My pick for 2012 Rookie of the year still shouldnt be a surprise with Andrew Luck taking home the trophy.