The Plight of the NFL Defender – A Valueless Wasteland

Last night, we got a good representation of why the Houston Texans are 5-0. Not only do they have a potent offense, but their defense is quite impressive to boot. It all hinges on JJ Watt and his ability to be successful, especially now that star linebacker Brian Cushing is out for the season with a torn ACL. The clinic that Watt put on last night was nothing short of ridiculous, and has only furthered the observation that he is well on his way to NFL Defensive Player of the Year.

So, if his talent showcases a ridiculous potential to be a defensive star, why is there little to no speculation on his card values? In fact, why are defensive players largely ignored, minus a select few people?

Watt’s cards have been selling well since the beginning of the year, its uncertain if there is still more room for them to get bigger:

2011 Exquisite JJ Watt Gold Auto /25

2011 National Treasures JJ Watt Auto RC /99 BGS 9.5

2011 Topps Platinum JJ Watt Green Auto /150

I have commented previously on the plight of the defensive superstar, and it has become obvious that investing in non-skill players is a lost art in this hobby. Without a constant state of celebrity and national notoriety, there is little chance of sustained value. There are always exceptions to the rule, but in most cases, their value is dictated by lack of supply against a small scale demand. Take Charles Woodson for example. His cards are a complete reflection of availability, career accomplishment, and team affiliation – a perfect storm if you will:

2012 Rookies and Stars Charles Woodson Auto SP – Literally shocked by this price.

2011 Plates and Patches Charles Woodson Jersey Auto /5 – Again, utterly ridiculous.

People have already started buying into Watt like he is the next Ray Lewis, but the odds are not in their favor.Even if Watt does in fact become a HOF defensive end, it is rare that a defensive player attains any value. Guys like Ray Lewis, Jared Allen, and retired guys like Lawrence Taylor and Deion Sanders all have some of the most visible personalities in the game. Without those extremely persistent traits, the value will never come with it. Many non-skill players are almost invisible in the national media, which means they are not on the forefront of the minds of collectors. Its similarly unusual for the single defender to be credited with a team’s success like a QB or a Running Back would be.

Therefore, the personality makes up for the shortcomings, and its few and far between for those types of players to come along.

2 thoughts on “The Plight of the NFL Defender – A Valueless Wasteland

  1. I like your blog and hate grammar Nazis but come on now with the literally shocked stuff.

  2. The fact that cards of defensive players have little value in the hobby is not exactly news. Go back through history and looks at the card values of HOFers such as Dick Butkus, Jack Lambert, Ronnie Lott, and Reggie White.

    Plain and simple, the ONLY football players whose cards hold value over the long term are HOF quarterbacks and running backs (with Jerry Rice being the main exception).

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