The 14th annual NFL Players Rookie Premiere promises to be a faster, more furious (but just as festive) affair when this year’s edition kicks off Saturday morning from the fabled Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum.
Unlike Premieres past, the 2010 event will take place over the course of just one day. Just like in years past, three manufacturers will participate (Panini America, Topps and Upper Deck) in what annually is the single most important day on the football card calendar.
This year, 35 of the top 2010 rookies – including 12 first-round selections – are slated to attend an event that gets them in their NFL uniforms for the first time, all for the sake of producing some of the most collected football cards of the year and, in some cases, some of the most collected cards of all time.
“It’s the one time in the history of these guys’ careers that you’re going to get them all on one field together in an intimate setting,” says Panini America’s Scott Prusha. “It’s a special event, a special time for us to have the most marketable players from this year’s draft class together in one location – to have access to them, to take photos, to obtain autographs.”
That last part – to obtain autographs – simply can’t be undersold. Both Panini America and Topps will be procuring on-card autographs at the event – Panini for the company’s Next Day Cards program to be featured in Elite in coming weeks, and Topps for its popular Rookie Premiere Autographs program and the new Red Zone Rookie Autographs cross-brand insert.
“It’s always one of the great moments of the NFL Players Rookie Premiere when the players get their first [Rookie Premiere] cards in their NFL uniforms,” says Topps’ Clay Luraschi, who confirmed that the company’s first 2010 NFL product, base-brand Topps slated for release in late August, will incorporate photography from the shoot.
So, too, will the company’s following two products: Topps Platinum and Finest.
For the first time in its history, Premiere veteran Upper Deck won’t take even one picture of a player in an NFL uniform this time around. Instead, the company will take advantage of its NFL Players and Collegiate Licensing Company licenses to put the finishing touches on its upcoming college-themed issues.
“We’ll be concentrating on collecting video footage and interviews of the players that will be utilized shortly to promote some of our upcoming CLC football sets,” said UD’s Terry Melia. “Upper Deck’s 2010 Sweet Spot Football is scheduled to launch in mid-to-late August and will feature these college standouts. We’ll have an autograph station where the players will be signing cards, labels, etc., and providing special inscriptions that will be used as sought after inserts in the coming months.”
Attention Walmart Shoppers . . .
On Friday afternoon, the day before the NFL Players Rookie Premiere actually premieres, no less than 15 members of the 2010 rookie class will invade an Oxnard, Calif., Walmart for a little football card fun.
“They’re going to raise awareness of NFL Players but also of the entire trading card category,” says Panini’s Prusha.
Among other things, the players will interact with lucky Walmart shoppers by participating in games of pack wars and signing autographs at the Panini station in the store’s trading card aisle.
Stay tuned to Beckett.com Thursday, Friday and Saturday for on-location coverage of the 2010 NFL Players Rookie Premiere and its associated activities.
Here’s a list (subject to change) of those players slated to attend.
Name, position, college, round selected, overall selection, NFL team
Sam Bradford, QB, Oklahoma, 1, 1, St. Louis
Ndamukong Suh, DT, Nebraska, 1, 2, Detroit
Gerald McCoy, DT, Oklahoma, 1, 3, Tampa Bay
Eric Berry, FS, Tennessee, 1, 5, Kansas City
Rolando McClain, LB, Alabama, 1, 8, Oakland
C.J. Spiller, RB, Clemson, 1, 9, Buffalo
Ryan Mathews, RB, Fresno State, 1, 12, San Diego
Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma, 1, 21, Cincinnati
Demaryius Thomas, WR, Georgia Tech, 1, 22, Denver
Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State, 1, 24, Dallas
Tim Tebow, QB, Florida, 1, 25, Denver
Jahvid Best, RB, California, 1, 30, Detroit
Dexter McCluster, WR, Mississippi, 2, 36, Kansas City
Arrelious Benn, WR, Illinois, 2, 39, Tampa Bay
Rob Gronkowski, TE, Arizona, 2, 42, New England
Jimmy Clausen, QB, Notre Dame, 2, 48, Carolina
Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford, 2, 51, Minnesota
Ben Tate, RB, Auburn, 2, 58, Houston
Montario Hardesty, RB, Tennessee, 2, 59, Cleveland
Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame, 2, 60, Seattle
Damian Williams, WR, Southern Cal, 3, 77, Tennessee
Brandon LaFell, WR, LSU, 3, 78, Carolina
Emmanuel Sanders, WR, SMU, 3, 82, Pittsburgh
Jordan Shipley, WR, Texas, 3, 84, Cincinnati
Colt McCoy, QB, Texas, 3, 85, Cleveland
Eric Decker, WR, Minnesota, 3, 87, Denver
Andre Roberts, WR, Citadel, 3, 88, Arizona
Armanti Edwards, WR, Appalachian State, 3, 89, Carolina
Taylor Price, WR, Ohio, 3, 90, New England
Mardy Gilyard, WR, Cincinnati, 4, 99, St. Louis
Mike Williams, WR, Syracuse, 4, 101, Tampa Bay
Marcus Easley, WR, Connecticut, 4, 107, Buffalo
Joe McKnight, RB, Southern Cal, 4, 112, New York Jets
Mike Kafka, QB, Northwestern, 4, 122, Philadelphia
Jonathan Dwyer, RB, Georgia Tech, 6, 188, Pittsburgh
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.