Its rare that a rookie QB isnt officially the starter by this point in the preseason. Remember back in 2012, we had a ton of guys that were ready for prime time before they were even drafted. Not the case this year. Even in 2013, EJ Manuel had the Bills starting job locked up, and that was the worst year in recent memory.
Although the Raiders job isnt locked up quite yet, its quite likely now that there wont be any of the top draft picks taking the field and taking snaps during week one. Unlike 2013, where the class was just awful all around, 2014 is thought as one of the better classes in a while. When you see that the hobby is QB driven, how much does this affect value? From what we have seen, not much. Here is a breakdown of how I expect this to shake out.
1. Johnny Manziel
Although its clear now, I never expected to see Johnny Football as Johnny Clipboard week one. Not in a million years. He is still the top guy in the class by a mile and a half, but he wont see real action as the starter until Hoyer falls on his face. I think that will likely come sooner rather than later, especially with Josh Gordon’s year long suspension recently upheld. Manziel WILL be the starter, and he will get his shot, but Im still not convinced he wont struggle mightily. After watching all his pre-season snaps, its amazing how bad he can look on one play and how good he can look on others. Collectors are pouring THOUSANDS of dollars into his cards despite this fact, and I dont think the comparative value says thats a good idea. Either way I see why people love him.
Here are some top cards of his to chase:
2014 Panini Elite Johnny Manziel On Card Auto Inscription Red Ink
2014 Topps Johnny Manziel Jumbo Patch Auto /20
2014 Topps Inception Johnny Manziel Nike Logo Auto 1/1
Likely start date: Week 3
Current Value: HIGH
Hobby Potential: More valuable Michael Vick circa 2005
2. Blake Bortles
Of all the rookie QBs during the preseason, I think Bortles made his case to be the starter better than any other player. However, Jacksonville had already committed to sitting him during his rookie year, which is not only against the grain, but likely a horrible idea. Bortles played quite well, and Chad Henne isnt exactly a franchise QB, which means that there is likely no reason not to see what Bortles has in the tank. His hobby value isnt even close to where Manziel is, despite the fact that he played better. The difference is that Bortles has no polarizing public persona, and played for a college with no hype behind it.
Here are Bortles’ top cards:
2014 Topps Inception Blake Bortles Draw Play Inscription Auto
2013 Exquisite Blake Bortles Auto XRC 1/1
2014 Topps Blake Bortles Jumbo Patch Auto
Likely start date: Week 6
Current Value: GOOD
Hobby Potential: More valuable Andy Dalton (Jacksonville is a black hole of hobby value)
3. Teddy Bridgewater
Teddy ended the Preseason with 5 TDs and no interceptions, but it was clear that the Vikings were not willing to take the restrictor plate off the offense during any of their games. All of Teddy’s TDs were short completions, and though he looked very good in his time on the field, I dont think we got a good representation of what he could do. That is both a good and bad thing, as with no real bite to the offense, it was safe enough to keep his confidence high. Lets not forget that this is an offense built around the running game and Adrian Peterson as well. If they had taken the reins off a bit more, I dont think it would have gone as well. Like Manziel, I think the Vikings will be bad enough that Teddy will get some starts this season, despite how well Cassel played. At that point we will see what he is all about.
Here are Teddy’s Top Cards:
2014 Topps Inception Teddy Bridgewater Inscription Auto 1/1
2014 Bowman Teddy Bridgewater NFL Uniform Auto
2014 Topps Teddy Bridgewater Photo Variation Auto SP
Likely start date: Week 7
Current Value: GOOD
Hobby Potential: More valuable Donovan McNabb
4. Derek Carr
I dont think we got a clear picture of Carr due to his not playing due to a concussion in a game where he would have likely taken most of the snaps. He did look pretty good when he was playing, but not necessarily good enough to supplant Matt Schaub, who has seemingly forgotten how to play football. As a second round pick, he wasnt expected to come in and start right away, even though he was only drafted a few spots below Bridgewater. Funny how that works – as the hobby functions in a very similar fashion. Either way, he will eventually get a shot when Schaub figures out that his best targets dont wear silver and black. The Raiders arent exactly confident enough in Carr at this point, but they will give him the captain’s hat.
Here are Derek Carr’s top cards:
2014 Inception Derek Carr Red Auto /10
2014 Upper Deck Derek Carr SP Authentics On Card
Likely start date: Week 4
Current Value: BARGAIN
Hobby Potential: Less valuable Phillip Rivers
I cant even put into words how excited I am for the NFL season to start next Thursday, and I think that guys like these QBs, combined with others like Sammy Watkins will make this a great hobby year even without a starting QB week one. Prime your wallets for overdrive now, because if any of these four break out, it will be all over. Just wait to see where Manziel’s prices go if he has even a mediocre first game.