Going into 2014, things looked really, REALLY bright. Not only did the rookie class feature four QBs with promising futures, but a slew of other contributing skill players that were going to likely be impact players from day one. The class was riding high for the first products of the year, but when the season started and people got a look at the class in action, the market softened considerably. That trend never really righted itself either.
On a few occasions in talking with people at my local shop, we all kind of agreed that the Manziel hangover was palpable in the way the market responded. He was on the bench for a number of games, and that left collectors feeling anxious about their enormous investments made in him prior to the start of the year. Additionally, Derek Carr was the only rookie to start from day one, and his team wasnt winning. Bortles started shortly after, and we all know what eventually happened. Bridgewater got going after Matt Cassel broke a bone in his foot, but like the others, struggled to find a groove until the last few weeks of the season.
Around that same time, Odell Beckham started to climb back into the lineup with New York, and the rest is history. The issue is that even with Beckham (and his cards) going off the charts, the market on 2014 products never really rebounded the way it should have. When February rolled around, Beckham, Bridgewater, Carr, Evans, Benjamin, and others all had really solid rookie seasons. Solid enough that it should have floated the softened value points to a level of sustainability. In reality, the market continued to sink before bouncing back just before the start of the 2015 pre-season. It might have had to do with the fact that none of them made or did anything in the playoffs other than Benjamin.
Now that the class is getting some field time in the new year, many of the players who were a focus of 2014 are now playing quite well – especially last week.
The most “famous” of any rookie since Tebow, he has finally showcased some of the creativity and production that got him drafted in the first round to begin with. His cards have come back considerably since McCown went down last week, leaving collectors to finally question if its time to start buying again.
Here is where he is sitting now:
2014 National Treasures Johnny Manziel Notable Nickname Auto
2014 Topps Chrome Johnny Manziel Camo Auto /99
2014 Topps Five Star Johnny Manziel Golden Graphs Auto /15
Odell Beckham Jr
After a slow start in week one, Beckham showed that the previous game was just him getting warmed up, putting up a TD and a bunch of receiving yards. Eli Manning continues to be the wild card with Beckham, and considering he just got a big extension, that isnt going to change anytime soon. Beckham as a WR shouldnt be able to get to the top echelon of hobby value, but he has already proven that theory wrong.
Still at the top of the class for now:
2014 Topps Five Star Odell Beckham Jr Auto Jumbo Patch
2014 Topps Platinum Odell Beckham Auto RC BGS 9.5
2015 Topps Odell Beckham Jr Auto Relic SSP
After a ROUGH week on national TV to open the year, Bridgewater played very well on Sunday notching two TDs and a nice game in a convincing win over a division rival. Its arguable that the initial game was more a result of terrible line play, and that was evident. As long as Peterson continues to play well, Bridgewater will too. His cards have been hot as the Vikings have been expected to make a playoff run, and this could be the beginning of a good stretch for Teddy.
Collectors are still high on his potential:
2014 Immaculate Teddy Bridgewater Auto Patch /10
2015 Topps Chrome Mini Teddy Bridgewater Auto Red Refractor /5
2014 Topps Strata Teddy Bridgewater Rivet Patch Auto /5
After injuring his hand in Week 1, Carr returned with vigor in a close win against a tough Ravens team. He passed for 3 TDs and over 350 yards, including a great looking long TD pass to Amari Cooper. To throw the ball 46 times is a tough task for a second year QB to execute without mistakes, and I think that it showed he really has the goods. Collectors have a tough time buying into a guy with a terrible signature, but this might end up being the exception.
His stuff seems to fluctuate up and down lately:
2014 National Treasures Derek Carr Auto Rookie Patch /25
2014 Inception Derek Carr Gold Inscription Auto /10
2014 Contenders Derek Carr Rookie Ticket Auto
As the third pick in the 2014 draft, Bortles might end up being the third or even fourth best QB of the class. Jacksonville has a terrible team, but Bortles found a way. He put up 2 scores and 250+ yards without a pick. As a guy who plays for one of the least collected teams in the league, his cards have always struggled to keep up. This could be a shot in the arm.
Lets hope he can turn the Jacksonville collecting stigma around:
2014 Topps Platinum Blake Bortles NFL Shield Logo Auto 1/1
2014 Black Gold Blake Bortles NFL Shield Sizeable Signatures Logo 1/1
2014 National Treasures Blake Bortles Logo Patch Auto Rookie /99
Although Kelvin Benjamin is out for the year, and Mike Evans is still hurt, the rest of the class remains looking strong as 2015 gets off to the races. Nothing would make me happier than seeing all these guys kill it, as its been a long time since we have had a class where so many people have the chance to be awesome collecting targets.