Pre draft products tend to be the worst examples of any NFL football product that is out there, both licensed and unlicensed. Prior to 2010, all the individual card companies had the opportunity to use jerseys from their college career, but with the exclusive NCAA licensed owned by Upper Deck, they are forced to use alternate methods now. This has led to massive issues with the visual appeal of the cards produced, even prompting Panini to wait until after the rookie premiere to release Prestige.
Last year, Topps created Bowman Signature, which was hoping to capitalize on the hole left by Panini’s shift away from releasing a pre-draft product. By all accounts, Bowman Signature was a product that just about everyone hated, as Topps was unable to use normal airbrushing techniques. This left the cards without a way to tell the players apart, which is a bad situation for a high end product.
Here ais the evidence:
Earlier last week, Topps previewed 2013 Bowman Football, our first glance at a product to be released with the 2013 draft class. This is a significant announcement for one simple reason, and it has to do with the fact that Bowman has not been its own standalone product since 2009. Bowman Chrome has had elements in 2010 and 2011 Topps Chrome as a subset, but it hasnt caught on despite great design work.
2010 Bowman Chrome Autos: Tim Tebow Auto /25
2011 Bowman Chrome Autos: Cam Newton Auto /25
I have high hopes for 2013 Bowman, as it will mark the return of hard signed autograph Chrome cards under the Bowman name for the first time in years. I say I only have high hopes and not genuine excitement for two specific reasons. First, the 2013 draft class is shaping up to be the worst in a decade, in terms of offense centric talent. Second, with the NFL properties team cracking down on the way rookies are presented in their products, this could end up being a disaster, with Topps being forced to conform to the unrealistic rules of the league.
On many occasions, I have said that there is no reason to release licensed products prior to the premiere. Similarly, I understand that there is A LOT of money to be made if products are successfully executed. Based on the designs we are seeing, this product looks to be built for success. However, as said before, we have to reserve judgement until we see what the final product looks like. The cards all look great, as they always do, but lets see if Topps can pay us back for what happened at the beginning of last year.