2017 NFL Draft – Breaking Down Hobby Impact for Top Picks

There are three events for the NFL season that I always go nuts for. One is the Super Bowl, one is opening week, and the other one is the NFL draft. I love every aspect of the draft, the trades, the player profiling the hope trafficking. The barren wasteland of football-less spring is given a stay for a few short days, and with the hobby being so rookie focused, its implication of this weekend is huge.

With 2016 being a historic year for rookie impact, this year has a lot to live up to. To be honest, the positions that look to be the strongest are not hobby friendly. Here are soe thoughts on the bigger names drafted so far.

Mitchell Trubisky

Position: QB
Team: Bears
Pick: 2

Kind of an unusual situation with quarterbacks this year, mainly because there isnt many that look to be surefire starters with success in 2017. Most of the guys drafted early are projects, and Trubisky is no exception. Since this fucking trainwreck of a pick has been beat to death by the media who likely hate as much as Bears fans do, Trubisky is going to be a top value guy in the hobby until he gets on the field. IF he gets on the field. Chicago has a good following and should drive up his value at least early on. Hopefully he doesnt shit the bed once he gets the chance to play. Bears say he will sit for 2017, but that rarely happens.

Here are where his cards are sitting now that the draft is done:

2017 Contenders Draft Mitchell Trubisky Auto Ticket

2017 Elite Draft Mitch Trubisky Auto Green 2/5

2017 Leaf Metal Mitchell Trubisky Auto Green Refractor /10

Leonard Fournette
Position: RB
Team: Jaguars
Pick: 4

The whole draft, all I wanted was for Fournette to avoid a hobby team like Jacksonville. Its a slow hobby death to match the on field potential. Even if the Jags somehow figure out how to be a good team in the NFL, the lack of following in the hobby will put a ceiling on potential. Additionally, the Jags are terrible. They may have spent a lot in free agency, but I just dont see the hobby latching on to a guy who plays for them. Hopefully the production gives a bit of a break.

Fournette has a Panini exclusive deal, so no Leaf, which is unfortunate:

2017 Contenders Draft Leonard Fournette Cracked Ice Auto /24

2017 Score Leonard Fournette Auto RC

Corey Davis
Position: WR
Team: Titans
Pick: 5

For the wideouts in the draft, there were questions on which one would go first. There were 3 grouped at the top, and Tennessee felt confident enough in Davis to drop a top pick to get him. Considering this about where guys like Amari Cooper and others were drafted, Im not sure I see the same hype as we had in previous years. Davis looks like a great player, but without the major college following, he may not see the heights some of the other prospects will see.

Here is where he sits after the draft:

2017 Leaf Metal Corey Davis Superfractor Auto 1/1

2017 Score Corey Davis Green Auto /6

Mike Williams
Position: WR
Team: Chargers
Pick: 7

I think this was a great pickup for the Chargers, especially when you see they didnt miss out on the line help they needed in the second and third round. Williams looked like the best WR prospect hobby wise, and I think that having the LA collecting crowd engaged could help. The only issue is that its rare that a WR gets major hobby attention without national attention like OBJ got in 2014. We will have to see.

Has some good prices already:

2017 Leaf Ultimate Draft Mike Williams Auto RC /15

2017 Elite Draft Mike Williams Auto RC

Christian McCaffrey
Position: RB
Team: Panthers
Pick: 8

I was shocked to see McCaffrey go before cook, especially with Cook’s skill set. Luckily it worked out in my favor by a considerable margin, and its going to be interesting to see how this pick works out. He could either be a great pass catching back who can run between the tackles, or adapt to the ever changing state of the running back position. Teams want versatile backs, and the Panthers will get a great one. He was already one of the top value guys in the class, and a high pick will only contribute further to the hype.

Nice action since the draft:

2017 Contenders Draft Christian McCaffrey / Andrew Luck Dual Auto

2017 Contenders Draft Christian McCaffrey Auto RC

John Ross
Position: WR
Team: Bengals
Pick: 9

Run on skill player talent doesnt stop with Ross, who was the fastest guy in combine history. Playing with AJ Green will be amazing, and Ross could end up being the best guy in the class. The hobby loves record breakers, and though it was a meaningless one, his speed will get him collector attention.

Pat Mahomes
Position: QB
Team: Chiefs
Pick: 10

Panini sponsored this guy, which means he will be everywhere in 2017. Everyone watching the draft was probably wondering why he was sponsored by a Sandwich company, but that’s just how it goes. who looks like a bigger project than Paxton Lynch looked like last year. Not only that, but they have Alex Smith and traded up to get this. Because he was a top pick and a QB, he will automatically be valuable, but its going to be tough for him to get on the field anytime soon. This pick baffles me.

Deshaun Watson
Position: QB
Pick: 12
Team: Texans

Personally, I think this guy looks like the top guy for the hobby in the class, and because he will DEFINITELY get a shot in Houston, its going to be better. I would be betting that he will be one of the only rookie week one starters, but he has to show a bit more work on some of the things that make him unattractive as a protypical NFL QB. Texans arent the best hobby team, and that sucks, but at least he isnt drafted in the second round where his value would deteriorate.

Dalvin Cook
Position: RB
Pick: 41
Team: Vikings

Im adding Cook to this list because he had some major value in the pre-draft cycle of products. Problem is his auto SUCKS and the Leaf signatures look weird compared to some of his in person authenticated examples. The Vikings got a steal at 41, but hobby potential with a shitty signature are severely limited. Their line also sucks balls, so he could end up stuffed more than often.

Having a deep offensive skill class in the first round will be a good thing before the season starts, even more so with people risking more on later round guys knowing that SOMEONE will break out as an impact contributor up front. The question is if there will be more than one from each group of top and late round players to support the way Panini continually builds products. If there is another 2013 on our hands, its not like they change anything in the way they produce sets. That’s the underlying problem, and it leaves it to the production on field to determine how this year shakes out. This is a WOW ME NOW hobby, not a long term play hobby, so gear up for a big year.

On Shelves Now: 2016 Flawless Football

Finally, after a long and brutal year of more than 30 NFL products and even more NCAA products, the year is over. The 2016 edition of Flawless will close out the year for the second time, and for the most part it is built almost identically to the previous 2 versions. I stand by my assessment that the price per box is insane, and should never be what it is, but at least chase content is included this year.

Here are some of the hits up so far:

2016 Flawless Ezekiel Elliott Logo Patch Auto 1/1

2016 Flawless Dak Prescott Jumbo Patch Auto /15

2016 Flawless Randy Moss Auto Emerald /5

2016 Flawless Jerry Rice Dual Patch Auto

The addition of NFL logos, brand logos and other types of chase content is absolutely necessary in a product like this, bottom line. Similarly bringing guys like Calvin Johnson and Randy Moss to the checklist helps too, but this stuff is still burdened by a price tag that no football product could ever support without group breakers.

In terms of design, the cards do look nice, and aside from some TERRIBLE Now and Then cards, the simplicity of the presentation is nice. I think this isnt as good looking as last year, which is extremely disappointing, but not at all surprising. For the most part, its colored foil on a stark white background, which doesnt really offer much as the most expensive football product in history.

Considering we literally JUST had NT released, its getting crowded during this part of the calendar for super premium product, thus diluting the market. Adding in the pre-draft junk that Panini is driving as well, and collectors just dont know what to do next.

I understand that Panini wants their license to be year round, but they need better planning around when the best products hit shelves.

If Flawless was wiped from the calendar next year, I would not be upset. With so many products now being built as Group Break based configurations, I just cant get behind the sprawl. Panini knows how unsuccessful their efforts would be without the breakers pimping their wares, and caters way too much of their calendar to that crowd. The singles market becomes flooded with people looking to unload, and everyone hurts as a result.

When you pull the best player available in your box, and cannot even cover your cost, there is a major problem. Panini is thinking, that it is a huge return on a group break slot, and moves on, but this is an inherently unhealthy way to function. I dont think its changing anytime soon, and eventually the bed will be made. Hopefully everyone is ready to sleep in it.

MLB Opening Day 2017: Following a Dream Year with a Question Mark

Lets face it people, 2016 was about as good as it gets in terms of the way events played out for the hobby. A widely collected team finally wins the championship after 108 years. Both of the top two collected players in the hobby win the MVP of their respective leagues. A new 27k per box product hits shelves, and sells out about as fast as anything has ever sold out. How do you follow that up?

If Mike Trout is the current face of Baseball cards, he is starting to feel some heat from Kris Bryant, especially now that the curse of the Billy Goat has been broken. Being that Topps and Bryant have a great relationship, as they do with Trout, we should see a huge focus on both continued for this year. Unlike Trout, whose luster might have started to wear off a bit due to volume of availability, Bryant is about as white hot as it gets right now. If he has the kind of season this year that he did last year, nothing would be better for Baseball cards.

Check out these prices:

2013 Bowman Chrome Kris Bryant Auto RC BGS 9.5

2017 Gypsy Queen Kris Bryant Auto

2015 Bowman Chrome Kris Bryant Auto Green Refractor /99

There are good young players quickly making their way through the ranks of widely collected teams as well. Aaron Judge and Gary Sanchez for the Yankees especially, filling a gap left behind by some droughts of collectible players since Jeter left. Speaking of everyone’s favorite number 2, he is back again in the hobby, and continues to make waves with Topps products. His cards are reminiscent of what happened with Ichiro a few years ago, but Jeter is on a different level. There are a lot of people who are happy to have another big signature available in packs.

I still have a lot of questions about this year, as I think that there are major balls still in the air with the sustainability of the industry. Adding in further questions around digital and I hope that 2017 can be even close to the year that 2016 was for Baseball. With the absolutely incredible success of Topps NOW during the playoffs and world series, they have a hard act to follow in continuing to innovate with the way things are going to play out. I am curious how they incorporate more cool content more regularly instead of the general daily cards that are released regularly.

As a collector who has turned to Baseball more frequently with Panini’s poor execution on the NFL side, I want this to be the banner year tha t2016 turned out to be. I have a feeling we have a lot to gain, but it all depends on the execution. Topps banked some big wins on risky endeavors last year, and its yet to be seen if more risks will be taken. If they choose to continue down the path less traveled, im waiting with intense curiosity to see if more wins are achieved. For the sake of cards as a whole, I hope they are.

On Shelves Now: 2016 National Treasures Football

Other than Contenders, there may not be a bigger product released in Football now that Topps has been forced out. Although I dont think the legacy of this set deserves to be what it is, collectors have been waiting for this product to come out for WAY too long. Luckily for Panini, the set looks good and the buzz of Dak and Zeke hasnt been overtaken quite yet. The draft is a month away still, and this is the second to last set of 2016.

Here are some of the top hits already up:

2016 National Treasures Ezekiel Elliott RC FULL SIG Auto 1/1

2016 National Treasures Dak Prescott Jumbo Patch Auto Booklet

2016 National Treasures Jared Goff Rams Head Logo Patch Auto

2016 National Treasures Derrick Henry / Eddie George Dual Auto

2016 National Treasures Jameis Winston Jumbo Patch Auto

Being that this is the 10th year of Treasures, somehow, we still have a number of issues that continue to plague the product. First, there are still a TON of stickers in the many subsets. For a box you will be expected to drop 650 dollars to get your hands on, this is completely unacceptable. Similarly horrific, Panini is still stuck on including single color jersey swatches without autographs attached. In a low end or retail release, fine. In a Super Premium set? Fuck that. This should be the best of the best.

All things considered, I really like most of the designs this year, especially the rookie patch autos that everyone will be chasing. With the exception of the Hat Cards, which are some of the worst cards Panini makes, and a really substandard NFL Gear design, NT looks really, really nice.

As a whole the brand of NT is the set that took over for Exquisite when UD lost their license. Because Topps didnt have a pre-established High End set leading up to 2010, Panini lucked out in inheriting the crown. Since that time, the set has gone through many ups and many extreme downs. With 2011 being rock bottom, and 2012 not being much better, there has been an upswing through 2016. I really thought the set has done some good things in recent years, especially in more on card content, however, there is still a very long way to go.

Topps released Definitive Collection to close out their NFL license last year, and it makes NT look like it was built by an intern in their spare time. Too much room for added content leaves me wondering when Panini will truly inject some innovation into this product. Its almost clearly represented that Panini’s effort went to about 75% of what it should have been, if not only because of what the rookie class was able to do this year. Collectors will still buy the fuck out of this product at its ridiculous price, even more so when the season gets going again.

Much like most of what we have seen in Premium Card sets this year, running things on auto pilot can produce some nice results for some things but pretty stale results for others. That’s National Treasures and most of Panini’s calendar this year.

Is 2016 Select Football Even Better Than Advertised?

I havent had the chance to sit down and write very much lately, as work as been insane. That doesnt mean I have stopped paying attention, either. When Select was announced as a fourth set in as many weeks for Panini, I was skeptical that it wouldnt be just another product that will clog up the cool down period after the Super Bowl. I mean, Encased might have been one of the worst looking and worst value products for the price all year, but Select had potential. I always liked it more than I liked Prizm, as the design work was consistently better through its run.

Check out some of the top cards:

2016 Select Ezekiel Elliott Auto Jumbo Patch RC /25

2016 Select Aaron Rodgers Die Cut Auto 1/1

2016 Select Barry Sanders Auto Relic /5

2016 Select Dak Prescott Red Refractor Auto Patch

This year’s product, with the inclusion of the XRC redemptions really took me by surprise. Full game photos, great looking designs, and the addition of the content around the new rookies was awesome, and I really think people should not be surprised how much the price has increased per box. Its almost tough to break it at the current price, as you are now even more guaranteed to lose money on a break, but this might be the best group break product out there, and I dont think its going to be touched by Treasures or Flawless.

Select was originally part of Panini’s line of Topps Chrome rip offs, and though I dont think the identity crisis is gone in that regard, I really like the parallels with the Finest set it was built upon. With Prizm also looking extremely good this year, this leaves Optic as the only garbage product of the three recent Chrome style products, and its because of the rated rookies, not because of the rest of the set. Had Optic not chosen the horrible photos for those cards, I think Panini would have had 3 great looking Chrome replacement products this year.

The XRC cards are selling very well too, all things considered. Outside of Leonard Fournette, there really isnt a surefire Superstar QB to drive up product values this early on. Deshaun Watson is a good name, but I dont think he is the consensus pick for Top QB. That leaves a lot of speculation around which player will fall where, and the way the redemptions are structured is a really good opportunity to stock up. Hopefully the cards will be photo shoot action pictures of the players in their NFL uniforms, but we will have to wait and see.

Im a fan of Select this year, and man, that is a surprise to me.