By TRACY HACKLER | BECKETT MEDIA EDITORIAL DIRECTOR
The first prime-time, three-day NFL Draft in history came to a relatively quiet close on Saturday following two previous days of high drama and record-breaking television ratings.
But for all of the newness of the event, the 2010 Draft meant what it’s always meant to card collectors. It meant the chance to finally see who was going where and how that would affect the collectibility of 2010 Rookie Cards.
After all, the right player going to the right team or the right opportunity means everything to the allure of and demand for his Rookie Cards. On the other hand, even the most talented players going to hobby wastelands can mean instant indifference.
What follows is a partial list of Beckett Football’s biggest winners and losers from the 2010 NFL Draft. For the complete list be sure to check out the next issue of Beckett Football, on newsstands everywhere in May.
Dez Bryant, WR, Dallas Cowboys
First Round (24th overall) out of Oklahoma State
Most experts credited Bryant with top-five skills and a Mr. Irrelevant attitude. Cowboys owner Jerry Jones made no bones about wanting Bryant. He got the electrifying pass-catcher from Oklahoma State with the 24th overall pick and promptly gave him Hall of Famer Michael Irvin’s No. 88.
Bryant lands on football’s most-collected team and immediately heads to the top of the rookie hobby heap. With a gun-slinging QB in Tony Romo and a star-studded cast of offensive weapons around him, Bryant has the chance to shine – now.
Ryan Mathews, RB, San Diego Chargers
First Round (12th overall) out of Fresno State
The Chargers know a thing or two about franchise running backs having just lost their best in LaDainian Tomlinson. They moved up in the first round to grab Mathews, perhaps their next best.
The California boy out of Fresno State has run-catch skills just like LT and speed to burn. He also steps into a situation in San Diego where he’s virtually guaranteed face time in the postseason.
As a bonus, Mathews – who rushed for 1,808 yards and 19 touchdowns last year – is staying close to home, which should only intensify his base of potential collectors already aware of his brilliance.
Jacoby Ford, WR, Oakland Raiders
Fourth Round (108th overall) out of Clemson
Poor guy. No matter how exciting this playmaker was in college at Clemson, they’ll be sending a search party for his collectibility soon enough. After all, there’s a reason they call Oakland “The Black Hole.” Lately, it seems that extremely talented kids go there and are never heard from again (JaMarcus Russell . . . Darren McFadden . . . Darrius Heyward-Bey . . .).
Toby Gerhart, RB, Minnesota Vikings
Second Round (51st overall) out of Stanford
Gerhart is a great kid who was an awesome college performer at Stanford (Tommy Vardell, anyone?). Unfortunately, he was picked to back up the speed freak of an armor-plated rhino known as Adrian Peterson, and we saw how well that worked for Chester Taylor’s collectibility.
Gerhart will get love early from collectors because of his Heisman-worthy 2009 at Stanford. But can it sustain itself once the season starts and he sees more pine than playing time?
Too Early to Tell
Jahvid Best, RB, Detroit Lions
First Round (30th overall) out of California
The incredibly gifted Best may have been the best RB taken in the entire draft. Unfortunately, he was taken by the Lions, presumably with the hope of becoming a Chris Johnson-type game-changer.
He possesses the running and receiving skills to pull it off, and a rich, young nucleus around him to help (headlined by quarterback Matthew Stafford and receiver Calvin Johnson). But does he possess the right NFL address? Only if he can help spruce up the neighborhood.
Sam Bradford, QB, St. Louis Rams
First Round (first overall) out of Oklahoma
Yes, he’s the prototypical 21st century quarterback. Yes, he was the first player taken in the draft. Yes, his Rookie Cards will be right there with Tim Tebow’s as 2010’s most expensive for the next several months.
Indeed, there are a lot of things going right for Bradford right now. His team, however, is not one of them. The Rams have lost a staggering 42 games over the last three seasons while giving up 137 sacks. But if Bradford can somehow lead a meaningful rebuilding effort in the next few years, he’ll most certainly have the chance to join Kurt Warner as the greatest hobby QB in Rams history.
But that’s a big “if.”
Tracy Hackler is the editorial director for Beckett Media. Have a comment or question? Send an e-mail to him at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter by clicking here.