Now that the NFL Draft is over, there is only one more big offseason event left until the preseason starts as we start to get into the latter half of 2014. After the premiere at the end of May, the only thing left is to get down to business. With that, what do we know going into 2014’s prime?
QBs Will Be a Huge Focus in 2014
Lets face it, to beat the QB class of 2012 is going to be David vs Goliath. The scary thing is that collectors are going to expect one or two of the QBs to take over like those guys did, and I just dont see that happening in this year’s class. Although most of the players drafted in the first few rounds will get on the field as a starter this year, I dont see 5 hitting the field during week 1. That's scary considering that collectors are relatively spoiled from 2012, and could give up early on these guys like we saw last year. Not good. However, it could also spark a resurgence in value for 2013 once we start to make comparisons.
If pre-draft products are any indication, this is going to be a good year:
Michael Sam is a VERY big deal
I love that he was drafted, but I dont like that he had to wait until round 7. Sam’s game tape far outweighed his awful combine and pro days, and I thought he would end up being a 4th rd grade that gets drafted in the 5th.Either way, the Rams made history, and though his sexual orientation is not a big deal anymore, it brings significant value with it. I think he deserves to go to the premiere, even over guys like Khalil Mack, as it is truly a historic day to see him in his pro uniform. Even if he doesnt make the team – which I think he will – its still going to be a huge story either way.
He is the most valuable 7th rounder in a long time already:
Running Backs are a Dying Breed
After reports that the Vikings are even looking to kick Peterson to the curb after this year, there is a huge sentiment that backs are not even worth checking out anymore. This draft set a record for the lowest drafted RB, and that is only further cementing the days of Emmitt Smith and Barry Sanders are behind us. Bishop Sankey and Carlos Hyde look like serviceable players, but both are likely not going to see the action Lacy did last year and Martin and Morris did in 2012. Hyde has to share the load with Gore, and Sankey may not even be an every down back. Interesting to consider that Tre Mason didnt even get taken until round 3, and he was a finalist for the Heisman.
Johnny Manziel has lots to prove
By now, you should know that I dont like Manziel and I dont think he will be successful long term in the league. A site leaked a scouting report from the Pats which highlighted some of the reasons why teams may have passed on him. Even if it isnt real, those evaluation points seem accurate enough that Manziel may not have the drive to learn the nuance of the game to a point where he can be successful. Collectors love him, LeBron loves him, but his playground style doesnt seem to be a good fit when D lineman can run just as fast as the QBs can.
The Late Draft is BAD for Cards
Brace yourselves, the double zeroes are coming. Because there is now so little time between draft and premiere, the cards just arent going to be done with the same timeframe. Even though we had rookies in double zero uniforms over the last 2 years, I have a distinct feeling its going to be worse than ever for 2014, unless you are a top pick. The reason 00 jerseys have to happen is that card companies are no longer allowed to assign numbers to players unless it is official from the team. If there is no official number, they have to wear 00 in all cards until the number becomes official – or something like that. Its why cards like Inception and Prestige always have 00 jerseys.
Here are some examples from the past:
2013 Topps Inception Geno Smith Auto /25
Im ridiculously excited already for football season, and its not even June. I think 2014 is going to be a banner year for cards, and not because the draft class is even anything special. I just hope the collecting public feels the same way after last year.