Prospecting in Football is so vastly different than Baseball, that it really cant be called prospecting. You could argue that football draft picks are “prospects” until week one, which is a span of time, but not much. In many cases, the prospects in football are either impact players from day one, or years long wait projects that sit behind an established star. In baseball, top draft picks are in the minors for a good chunk of time, and many of the collectors will buy based on future potential. Prospecting is about finding the diamonds in the rough, and in football, that is almost crystal clear from day one. Every once in a while you get a mold breaker, but not as often as other sports.
There are two interesting situations that will be playing out over the next few weeks, and both have a great backstory.
Never heard of him before last week? Me either. He was a two sport prospect red shirt freshman that came into FSU last year and sat behind future first round pick EJ Manuel. Last week, Winston got his chance, putting up a near PERFECT game, with 5 TDs and over 350 yards passing on 25 attempts. Its about as rare as it gets. Unlike Manziel and Luck at this point, Winston has had legitimate cards on the market, although they are not FSU stamped for obvious reasons. For a guy that is likely going to be a huge focus for the rest of the season, his cards in Upper Deck USA football are going insane. For reference, seeing what they were at before last week makes me wonder who has a ton of these. He also has cards from Topps’ perfect game set, but no autographs from either set have surfaced – YET. This only makes a further case for products like US Army All American from Leaf, although situations like Winston are exceedingly rare.
This is football prospecting in its rawest form, and I would be SERIOUSLY cautious about how this all shakes out. Oddly enough, his rookie card alone is selling for about 90% of the box price, so its worth a rip, but that might change if his stats peter off.
I remember when he was the top prospect in his high school class, and there were a lot of people watching as he drove an OSU program through a few obstacles. He also created a few obstacles of his own, getting suspended and eventually declaring for the supplemental draft after the fact. The fact that he is starting on Sunday shouldnt be generating the hobby buzz that it is, especially when you consider that the Raiders are likely the worst fucking team in the league. There is no reason to throw money at this guy, as outplaying Matt Flynn shouldnt get you love, when most of your players wouldnt make the practice squad on other NFL teams. Pryor wont play lights out, as he has a TERRIBLE supporting cast – even if Darren McFadden can stay healthy for the first time ever. What are we expecting him to do to earn the value he is currently receiving? Wouldnt you rather buy someone that has a chance to be a superstar? Yet, we see that that never stops anyone, am I right all you Jeff Tuel buyers?
I consistently warn against this situation, but I dont think Raiders fans have much else to cheer for. I mean, who else are you going to buy? Tyler Wilson?
Im very eager to see how week 1 plays out, because I have a lot of investment loaded into this class (I know, not heeding my own advice). Hopefully one of the guys has a breakout game, so next week, I can finally write a positive post about this rookie class!