Now that the rookie premiere is over, its a long wait until the beginning of the season, especially now that we are coming up on a time where news tends to be a lot lighter along the way. I think we found out a lot of stuff about the 2014 card season this weekend, especially in regards to the rookies themselves. Here are my thoughts.
Of all the celebrity draft picks that have come through the rookie premiere, Manziel’s signature easily has to be the best I have ever seen. If you arent familiar with the rookie premiere, they are required by the NFLPA to sign a minimum few thousand cards a piece over the course of the weekend. That’s a lot of autographs in a short period of time. Where most rookies chose to switch to a shortened signature that collectors cannot stand, Manziel reportedly signed all of his cards with his beautiful full signature. Amazing. Although he has a bad rap among the NFL draft crowd for being a diva, he can almost do anything he wants in my book as long as the sig stays the same. Great job.
Manziel is the top guy in the class, and every card was signed just like this:
2014 Leaf Trinity Johnny Manziel Jumbo Patch Auto
2014 Upper Deck Johnny Manziel Auto Star Rookie
2014 Upper Deck Johnny Manziel Auto SP Authentics
Yes, I am a homer. Yes, Teddy is a Viking so I will be collecting the hell out of him. However, I have to give him a ton of props for going back to a full sig after signing T- B- for all the pre season products. Altough this will be his third career signature, its a good one that he reportedly signed the whole premiere. When the two top picks are cooperating in that way for three to five thousand sigatures, that’s a victory for collectors.
Here is what his signature looked like prior to the premiere:
Leaf Army All American Auto – First Generation Auto
2014 Leaf Trinity Pure Glass Auto – Second Generation Auto
2014 Upper Deck 1994 Retro Auto – Second Generation Auto
From all the pre-draft interviews, Clowney looked like a laid back kind of dude. However, one thing was missing over the course of the weekend, and that’s Clowney’s stuff getting signed. Considering he is easily the best defensive prospect to ever come to the premiere, he didnt have much that the companies focused on. Makes me wonder what his attitude will be like for the rest of the season if he wasnt all that in the mood to sign and be a part of the media blitz. Clowney was readily available in Leaf and other products, so he will sign sometime, but lets just hope we wont have a season full of redemptions.
He did sign some stuff because we already have one of his player issue cards on eBay:
2014 Topps Rookie Premiere Auto – Jadeveon Clowney Player Issue
Clowney had no trouble getting these cards done en masse:
2014 Leaf Trinity Jadeveon Clowney Auto Jumbo Patch
2014 Leaf Trinity Jadeveon Clowney Pure Glass Auto /5
The reason I am talking about this is because Carr is an important part of the class with a clear path to a starting role. Due to unforeseen circumstances, Carr was unable to attend last minute, which means that he is going to be redemptions likely for a lot of the early products. Although the player worn relics can easily be obtained at a future signing, he will likely be without photos in uniform until Absolute is released mid year. Huge situation for the card companies to deal with, especially considering all the multi signed cards that he was surely needed on. Carr has a lot of signatures in previous unlicensed products, and from what all the industry guys have said prior to the draft, has a great attitude. That should fair well for getting his stuff done eventually. However, I cant remember a huge name like him not being able to make it in this way.
Here is some of Carr’s other stuff that you can still pick up:
2014 Upper Deck Derek Carr Star Rookie Auto
2014 Press Pass Derek Carr Auto /10
Overall Autograph Quality
From pictures tweeted out from the companies, PA, and players themselves, the new era of player autographs is well on its way. In the past, player signatures were intricate, visually appealing, and taken pride in, with few exception. For every Manziel in this class, there were 5-10 guys who signed with careless initials. Now, I understand WHY the initials were signed, as it is tedious and time consuming to sign your full name 3000 times in a sitting. However, when money is involved, why not take advantage of the forum you are given? For 85% of the players at the premiere, a second contract is as much of a long shot as Tebow coming back and being a starting QB. That means, I would sign as many autographs to pay the bills as possible. However, we all know that players refuse to let any doubt creep into their mind, and yet Football is a sport where your life can change in a matter of seconds. After seeing some of the autograph quality this week, the chances for players to pass their burden to a friend becomes more and more likely in getting autos signed at home done. Topps is one of the only companies that still has a group of people that go and get signings done in person, which always helps, but many of the others are done through other means and the honor system. You can see where that is a problem.
There has definitely been a history of poor signatures though:
Vernand Morency – Worst of the Worst
Chris Johnson – The First of Many Initials
Russell Wilson – The Big “R”
The premiere was always fun to watch unfold – especially in the age of twitter and social media. Cant wait for football to get going with a class that has huge potential.