I am so happy that I cant even contain myself. We are about four weeks away from the kickoff to the 2014 NFL season, and I dont have to continue living in a sports wasteland without Football. Starting tonight, there are a few things to keep an eye on for the preseason, and I want to discuss some of my thoughts.
Will Johnny Manziel be Johnny Football or Johnny Rookie?
Everyone seems to thing that 21 teams messed up by not taking the man, the myth, and the legend, Johnny Manziel. Although I predict he wont play well or translate accurately to the NFL style, I want him to succeed. This year's card calendar NEEDS him to succeed. He is the catalyst for turning a great draft class into a historic draft class, which is desperately desired after a dismal 2013.
Here are some of the better cards I would chase:
2014 Topps Inception Johnny Manziel Inscription Auto /10
2014 Panini Elite Johnny Manziel Auto On Card
2014 Bowman Johnny Manziel Orange Refractor Auto /50
On Saturday night, the Browns will play the Lions and Manziel will see his first action. Expect that he will not have the full playbook in his head or at his disposal even if he did, but hopefully he will be able to make some plays. If you have been sitting on his cards, have them up with a bigger BIN just in case. Collectors are starving for football action and will take pre-season performance as a indicator to buy. Ive never understood that stupidity, but it has happened every year. Right David Clowney, pre-season MVP of all time?
Other QB Battles in Progress
Outside of Manziel, guys like Derek Carr, Teddy Bridgewater, and Tom Savage are definitely in contention for a starting role alongside potential week one starters in Blake Bortles and Manziel. Teddy is already slated to get some snaps with the starters tonight, and it should be very clear that Matt Cassel is anything but the answer. Schaub had his days in Houston, but Carr will eventually take over, as will Bortles over Henne. Its just a matter of time, as the NFL is QB carousel every year.
Compared to last year, there are many more people willing to buy in on the QBs:
2014 Topps Inception Blake Bortles Gold Signing Auto /25
2014 Topps Inception Derek Carr Jumbo Patch Auto
2014 Prestige Tom Savage On Card Auto
If you are looking to pick up Bridgewater or Bortles, they arent running cheap, as collectors have already latched onto their opportunities in horrible QB situations. Minnesota has Patterson and Jennings alongside AT LEAST one more year of Peterson, which means that I would not hesitate to watch what Bridgewater can do (homer pick alert!).
Vikings fans dont mess around on these Bridgewater prices, I should know first hand:
2014 Topps Inception Teddy Bridgewater Auto
2014 Topps Inception Teddy Bridgewater Jumbo Patch Auto
Michael Sam Takes the Field
I am a huge fan of Michael Sam and what he represents to the world. We need this to happen, even if it SHOULDNT be a big deal. He will take some snaps tonight as the Rams take on the Saints, and thanks to Topps and Panini, he will have autographs and jersey cards to pick up if he eventually secures a roster spot. I have a feeling he will, but anything can happen. His cards are selling well to match his jersey sales in the top 5 for all rookies, and that is a very good thing. Lets hope he gets a shot to play.
2014 Topps Inception Micahel Sam Glove Patch Auto /10
2014 Panini Elite Michael Sam Die Cut Auto /49
Will Jadeveon Clowney Play?
Due to a sports hernia operation, it may be unlikely for Clowney to play in the first few games of the preseason. Regardless, I am definitely curious to see how he can play. After stories of his unwillingness to cooperate at the rookie premiere became evident, his autographs may eventually end up as redemptions throughout the year. Products like Inception and Elite may end up being some of his only live cards at the time of release. Combine that with questions surrounding his drive to play, and there could be a larger chance he will be a hobby bust.
2014 Bowman Jadeveon Clowney Auto Superfractor 1/1
2014 Prestige Jadeveon Clowney Draft Pick Rights Auto
Can Sammy Watkins Live Up to the Billing?
Although he may not have the tangible speed or power displayed over the draft selection process, there has been nothing but praise heaped on Watkins through the last few months. Even though I believe he doesnt have a great QB to get him the ball, collectors dont really seem to agree there is a concern there. His cards have been selling like hotcakes, and we all are curious to see how he does during the first few games.
Here are his first few big autos:
2014 SPX Sammy Watkins 1/1 Jumbo Tag Auto
2014 UD Premier Sammy Watkins Quad Patch Auto
He was a ghost during the first game, not playing much or catching anything, but that will change. Remember, I doubt teams will show their good plays this early in the season, but rookies still need to be able to show their skills early on. Buffalo paid a hefty price to get him, and he will need to do well for collectors to embrace his potential to the fullest.
Happy football watching everyone, dont get too caught up in these games, but have fun too.