Now that we are approaching the last handful of products from the 2012 NFL rookie class, it should be easy to deduce just how much this year has meant to the different card companies this year. Without a doubt, this was THE most valuable rookie class since 2004, if not ever, and that is saying a lot considering what happened in both 2006, 2010, and 2011. When looking back, and seeing that 2004 had so many guys that are now superstars, 2012 filled those shoes well.
From the likes of Andrew Luck, Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson, combined with Trent Richardson, Doug Martin and Alfred Morris, I cant remember the last time a class had this many top performing guys with big price tags. When measured against the worth of previous classes, I dont think there is any question as to the awesome results we have seen.
Even though Panini has been publicizing how high the Andrew Luck contenders ticket auto 1/1 is selling for, it is unlikely for the sale to be completed. Its still at least the most valuable contenders ticket of all time when it will eventually sell, but that is beside the point. The Andrew Luck Finest Superfractor Auto 1/1, and the Chrome Superfractor Auto 1/1 Holy Grail both broke the modern card sell value ceiling earlier this year, which means that he could claim the title of the most valuable rookie quarterback ever. Funny enough, I dont think he even had the best year, as Russell Wilson definitely put on a show in Seattle, and RGIII won Rookie of the Year in Washington. Their cards are similarly pushing the envelope with huge 1/1 prices that are frequently selling for thousands.
Now that we are coming upon the 2013 NFL combine, its easy to see that this class to be drafted is not going to be on the level of any class from the previous few decades. A highly touted defensive draft, there are not any game changing guys that I can see driving value the way we have seen over the last three years. Even the defensive talent isnt exactly the type of players that will be franchise makers, and that is bad for business in the card industry.
There are a handful of Quarterbacks that will likely be drafted early, but their cards will not even come close to guys that we saw in 2011 and especially 2012. You have Geno Smith, Mike Glennon, and Matt Barkley, but these players may only end up being serviceable guys. They just dont carry pre-draft value the way that others have. That means we wont get a Cam Newton type of mega value, probably not a Sam Bradford type of mega value or maybe even an Andy Dalton this year. Because it is almost REQUIRED to have a quarterback tent pole to drive up product value, this could be a disastrous situation.
As the draft gets closer, more players should emerge, but I would batten down the hatches and prepare for a rough 2013. With RGIII blowing out his knee, there might not even be much more room in 2012 to sustain the need to break boxes. Here’s to hoping something works out.