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Collectibility Main Factor as Panini America Presents its 2013 NFL Mock Draft

April 18, 2013

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Mel Kiper Jr. has nothing on Jason Howarth, Panini America’s Boston-bred Vice President of Marketing. For Howarth, next week’s 2013 NFL Draft is something akin to Christmas. Howarth is an unabashed NFL draftnik. He loves the stuff. So when he proposed the idea of conducting the inaugural Panini America mock draft a few weeks ago, we jumped at the opportunity (partially because he’s the boss, partially because it was a great idea).

But whereas most secular mock drafts this time of year focus on individual team needs or best-player-available discussions or directional trading, there is only one criteria that matters in the inaugural Panini America mock draft: Collectibility. Who are the 32 most collectible rookies coming into the NFL this year? The answers to that question not only drove the seven Panini America officials who participated in this draft, they will also drive the Rookie Card content of every last one of Panini America’s 2013 NFL trading card products.

Those were the marching orders used by Panini America’s Howarth, Ben Ecklar, Aik Tongtharadol, D.J. Kazmierczak, Tim Franz, Scott Prusha and Tracy Hackler. One by one below, our mock drafters lay out their picks for the 32 most collectible rookies of 2013, each offering a few words of rationale at the top of their list. In addition, we also gave each man an additional “wish pick” — that is, which top rookie they’d select for their favorite NFL team. For that pick, we’ve also mocked up a 2013 Score Football Rookie Card just to bring things home.

So, without further ado, we proudly present the Panini America 2013 NFL Mock Draft. Enjoy — and stay tuned next week when Panini America, the official and exclusive trading card partner of the NFL Draft, reports on all of the action live on location from Radio City Music Hall.

Jason Howarth, Panini America Vice President of Marketing
Favorite NFL Team: New England Patriots
Wish Pick: DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson

Panini America Mock Draft Hopkins

Overview:
If last year’s NFL rookie excitement was all about the QBs, this year’s is all about the WRs from a collectibility perspective. You have to  be excited with each of the top WRs and their ability to step in and have a more immediate impact on their team than any other position in this year’s draft – especially when you consider that they will likely be going to teams with established QBs. It is the most dominant spot in my mock draft with 10 overall picks, including my wish list WR for the Patriots – Clemson’s DeAndre Hopkins. The next most-collectible position in my draft for this year is QBs with nine picks, including Denard Robinson, projected to play WR in the NFL. He’s definitely a surprise in my top 32 but I couldn’t pass up a Michigan guy!. The RB spot comes in with five picks in my mock, including Marcus Lattimore at No. 32. He was projected to be a top 10 pick before he got injured. If ever there were a case to be made for collecting a rookie RB and holding on to him, it’s Lattimore. Rounding out the offensive side of the ball, I took two TEs in my top 32. The emergence of dominant, game-changing TEs in the NFL can’t be overlooked, and both Eifert and Ertz could very well continue that trend. I took defensive players with six of my 32 picks and, while we often have discussions internally about the value of defensive players, it’s hard not to think these guys won’t be collectible even if they don’t command the collecting dollars that offensive players do. There were a number of occasions as I narrowed down my 32 picks when I wished I had more so I could take some defensive guys that I think will be fun to watch. Ultimately, though, they ended up on the sideline. Fake girlfriend or not, I still slotted Manti Te’o at No. 13 in my mock as he will be interesting to watch.

  1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
  2. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
  3. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
  4. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
  5. Keenan Allen, WR, California
  6. Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
  7. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
  8. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
  9. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
  10. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
  11. Kenny Vaccaro, S, Texas
  12. Matt Elam, S, Florida
  13. Manti Te’o, MLB, Notre Dame
  14. Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State
  15. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
  16. Robert Woods, WR, USC
  17. Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
  18. Giovani Bernard, RB, UNC
  19. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
  20. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
  21. Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
  22. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
  23. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State
  24. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
  25. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
  26. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee
  27. Desmond Trufant, CB, Washington
  28. Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State
  29. Da’Rick Rodgers, WR, Tennesse Tech
  30. Cobi Hamilton, WR, Arkansas
  31. Denard Robinson, WR, Michigan
  32. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina

D.J. Kazmierczak, Panini America Vice President of Sales
Favorite NFL Team: Denver Broncos
Wish Pick: Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State

Panini America Mock Draft Glennon

Overview:
My rationale was collectibility and also trying to consider team need while knowing that this is in no way how the draft will go. Most of these players will end up on different teams. For example, the Chiefs won’t draft a QB at No. 1 now, so that takes Geno Smith off of my draft board there even though, from a collectibility standpoint, he might be the most marketable guy.

  1. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
  2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
  3. Cordarelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
  4. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
  5. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
  6. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
  7. Robert Woods, WR, USC
  8. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
  9. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
  10. Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State
  11. Keenan Allen, WR, California
  12. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
  13. Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
  14. Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
  15. Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
  16. Eric Reid, S, LSU 
  17. E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
  18. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
  19. David Amerson, CB, North Carolina State
  20. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
  21. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
  22. Terrance Wiliams, WR, Baylor
  23. D.J. Hayden, CB, Houston
  24. Phillip Thomas, S, Fresno State
  25. Vance McDonald, TE, Rice
  26. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
  27. Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State
  28. Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
  29. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
  30. Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati
  31. Giovani Bernard, RB, UNC
  32. Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech

Tim Franz, Panini America Sales Director
Favorite NFL Team: Miami Dolphins
Wish Pick: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama

Panini America Mock Draft Lacy

Overview:
Let’s face it, with Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck and RG III, who knows what the prototypical NFL QB looks like anymore. Hence, you will find five QBs in my top 10, including the rifle-armed Mike Glennon. Quarterbacks always lead the charge in collectibility, and this year’s QB class will undoubtedly astound us all.  No one will dispute that Eddie Lacy is the best RB in the draft, and in terms of natural ability and downright beastliness, the potential is limitless for this fleet footed 230-pound tailback. Let the “bro-mance” begin as I am vying for the Dolphins to select him with their first pick – 12th overall. The Houston Texans are one “Welker-type” receiver away from a Super Bowl and Texas A&M’s Ryan Swope, with his size and deceptive speed, will have fans booking last-minute trips to NYC. Don’t forget about my 32nd pick – the Honey Badger. Tyrann Mathieu will continue to capture national attention and, with any luck, his playmaking skills are how he will make his mark in the NFL. Finally, we are all speculating on the depth at WR and I believe names like Austin, Hunter and Allen will be household first names come December, provided that they land on the right teams.

  1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
  2. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
  3. Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
  4. EJ Manuel, QB, Florida State
  5. Cordarrellle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
  6. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
  7. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
  8. Mike Glennon, QB, North Carolina State
  9. Robert Woods, WR, USC
  10. Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
  11. Stedman Bailey, WR, West Virginia
  12. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
  13. Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
  14. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
  15. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennesse
  16. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
  17. Keenan Allen, WR, California
  18. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
  19. Giovani Bernard, RB, UNC
  20. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
  21. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
  22. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
  23. Jonathan Frankin, RB, UCLA
  24. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
  25. Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
  26. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State
  27. Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M
  28. Xavier Rhodes, CB, Florida State
  29. Dernard Robinson, WR, Michigan
  30. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
  31. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
  32. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU

Ben Ecklar, Panini America Director of NFL Product Development
Favorite NFL Team: San Diego Chargers
Wish Pick: Matt Scott, QB, Arizona

Panini America Mock Draft Scott

Overview:
Impact offensive skill position drives this hobby; we want to see the next generation of young stars make an impact early on and not let up — just as we saw in 2012. My mock draft includes all offense all the time, from the first pick through the 32nd, and they’re all ready to have an impact now . . . like the extremely mobile quarterbacks from the last two drafts (RG III/Colin Kaepernick/Russell Wilson/Cam Newton) . . . the workhorse backs that just keep on going (Alfred Morris/Doug Martin/Trent Richardson) and are always ready to make quick transitions to the NFL . . . the  dependable wideouts (A.J. Green/Julio Jones/Justin Blackmon/Michael Floyd) . . . and  the versatile, athletic tight ends flying by linebackers (Rob Gronkowski/Jimmy Graham). Player comparisons from the 2013 class to current NFL players have already been made; including comparisons to Kaepernick, Wilson, Sam Bradford, Steven Jackson, LeSean McCoy, Maurice Jones-Drew, Jones, Reggie Wayne, Percy Harvin, Anquan Boldin and Jason Witten. In all I picked four QBs, 10 RBs, 13 WRs and five TEs.

  1. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
  2. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
  3. Cordarrelle Paterson, WR, Tennessee
  4. E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
  5. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
  6. Keenan Allen, WR, California
  7. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
  8. Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
  9. Jonathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
  10. Robert Woods, WR, USC
  11. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
  12. Zac Ertz, TE, Stanford
  13. Vance McDonald, TE, Rice
  14. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
  15. Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
  16. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
  17. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
  18. Giovanni Bernard, RB, UNC
  19. Joseph Randle, RB, Oklahoma State
  20. Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
  21. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
  22. Markus Wheaton, WR, Oregon State
  23. Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
  24. Stepfan Taylor, RB, Stanford
  25. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
  26. Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
  27. Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech
  28. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
  29. Travis Kelce, TE, Cincinnati 
  30. Gavin Escobar, TE, San Diego State
  31. Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M
  32. Marquise Goodwin, WR, Texas

Aik Tongtharadol, Panini America NFL Brand Manager
Favorite NFL Team: Green Bay Packers
Wish Pick: Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama

Panini America Mock Draft Lacy Packers

Overview:
The challenge with picking players this early is balancing college performance and following with NFL potential without knowing what team they will eventually land on. While the QB situation isn’t as top-heavy as the 2012 class, I still think some of the mid-round guys will be intriguing upside plays for the future, in particular Matt Scott and Zac Dysert. I found the last four or five spots to be the most difficult. I just missed on Mike Gillislee, Andre Ellington, Le’veon Bell and Cierre Wood although they have shown decent early-year returns. For my wish pick, I’d love to see the Packers realistically land Eddie Lacy. Over the past three seasons, the Packers are league-worst in yards per rush and rushing touchdowns. This is a good chance to pick up a quality player while not having to reach for him.

  1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
  2. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
  3. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
  4. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
  5. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
  6. E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
  7. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
  8. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
  9. Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
  10. Denard Robinson, WR, Michigan
  11. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma 
  12. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
  13. Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
  14. Robert Woods, WR, USC
  15. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
  16. Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
  17. Keenan Allen, WR, California
  18. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
  19. Jonathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
  20. Kenjon Barner, RB, Oregon
  21. Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska
  22. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
  23. Giovani Bernard, RB, UNC
  24. Zac Dysert, QB, Miami (Ohio)
  25. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
  26. Collin Klein, QB, Kansas State
  27. Mike Glennon, QB, South Carolina
  28. Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
  29. Tyler Bray, QB, Tennessee
  30. Barkevious Mingo, DE, LSU
  31. Dion Jordan, LB, Oregon
  32. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona

Scott Prusha, Panini America Marketing Manager
Favorite NFL Team: Dallas Cowboys
Wish Pick: Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska

Panini America Mock Draft Burkhead

Overview:
Collectors love their quarterbacks, and if you look back on values over the years, the key QBs not only top the list, but the next level of signal-callers still carries a slight premium over star runners and receivers. It was hard to rank the RBs and WRs before you see where they will land, but a lot of guys in the right situation could make a big jump. That’s why I picked a guy like Landry Jones to rank toward the top before the draft because collectors will go for name value vs. situation until draft day. Speaking of name value, I have Manti Te’o and Tyrann Mathieu up higher because of their name recognition and strong school collector base. I went with a homer pick for my wish pick, but if it wasn’t for injuries, Rex Burkhead would rank higher and would be getting more draft buzz. He could be a steal and a great compliment for DeMarco Murray if the Cowboys got him late — and his cardboard would go through the roof.

  1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
  2. E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
  3. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
  4. Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
  5. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
  6. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
  7. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
  8. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
  9. Giovani Bernard, RB, UNC
  10. Denard Robinson, WR, Michigan
  11. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
  12. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
  13. Johnathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
  14. Le’Veon Bell, RB, Michigan State
  15. Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
  16. Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
  17. Robert Woods, WR, USC
  18. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
  19. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
  20. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
  21. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
  22. Mike Glennon, QB, South Carolina
  23. Matt Scott, QB, Arizona
  24. Andre Ellington, RB, Clemson
  25. Terrence Williams, WR, Baylor
  26. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
  27. Ryan Griffin, QB, Tulane
  28. Dee Milliner, CB, Alabama
  29. Sharrif Floyd, DT, Florida
  30. Ezekiel Ansah, DE, BYU
  31. Dion Jordan, LB, Oregon
  32. Luke Joeckel, OT, Texas A&M

Tracy Hackler, Panini America Hobby Marketing Manager
Favorite NFL Team: Denver Broncos
Wish Pick: Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M

Panini America Mock Draft Swope

Overview:
If you mix a lot of what my distinguished colleagues Tim Franz and Ben Ecklar said above, you’ll have a general understanding of my rationale for the following 32 picks. I’m a firm believer in the “Offense Sells Trading Cards” philosophy and with precious few exceptions (Manti Te’o being one and my man-crush-in-waiting, Tyrann Mathieu, being the other), my draft is completely dominated by offense. Speaking of budding bromances, I’d be over the moon if the Broncos somehow landed Texas A&M receiver Ryan Swope at No. 28. He’s tailor-made to be a bone fide slot machine, and the prospects of him learning under Peyton Manning and Wes Welker are downright dreamy. In fact, if my Broncos play their cards right (pun intended), it’s possible that they end up with both of those collecting targets next week in real life. Unfortunately, for the purposes of this draft, they don’t.

  1. Geno Smith, QB, West Virginia
  2. Tavon Austin, WR, West Virginia
  3. Cordarrelle Patterson, WR, Tennessee
  4. Eddie Lacy, RB, Alabama
  5. Tyler Eifert, TE, Notre Dame
  6. Matt Barkley, QB, USC
  7. E.J. Manuel, QB, Florida State
  8. Montee Ball, RB, Wisconsin
  9. Robert Woods, WR, USC
  10. DeAndre Hopkins, WR, Clemson
  11. Manti Te’o, LB, Notre Dame
  12. Keenan Allen, WR, California
  13. Zach Ertz, TE, Stanford
  14. Denard Robinson, WR, Michigan
  15. Ryan Swope, WR, Texas A&M
  16. Ryan Nassib, QB, Syracuse
  17. Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee
  18. Tyrann Mathieu, CB, LSU
  19. Jonathan Franklin, RB, UCLA
  20. Mike Glennon, QB, South Carolina
  21. Tyler Wilson, QB, Arkansas
  22. Terrance Williams, WR, Baylor
  23. Da’Rick Rogers, WR, Tennessee Tech
  24. Christine Michael, RB, Texas A&M
  25. Vance McDonald, TE, Rice
  26. Giovani Bernard, RB, UNC
  27. Quinton Patton, WR, Louisiana Tech
  28. Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma
  29. Marcus Lattimore, RB, South Carolina
  30. Aaron Dobson, WR, Marshall
  31. Rex Burkhead, RB, Nebraska
  32. Dustin Hopkins, K, Florida State
14 Comments leave one →
  1. April 18, 2013 2:44 pm

    Interesting post. While there are a ton of actual mock drafts based on team-need-position in draft, this was a novel approach as to be collectability-based. True to the draft, some of these players will flourish and some won’t, depending on where they land. There are always surprises as well that come from the later rounds. Very fun to read!

  2. tlvincent permalink
    April 18, 2013 2:55 pm

    EJ Manuel has a serious shot at blowing up like previous QB’s if he gets into the right system/team….just my 2 cents And god I hope the packers draft more defense, D players arent as much fun to collect, but I still have nightmares of Kap running wild!

  3. Nick Mikulicich Jr. permalink
    April 18, 2013 3:07 pm

    Sacks sell trading cards too. Just look at how hot JJ Watt’s rookies have been the past 6-8 months. Prusha and Tongtharadol are the only 2 who have figured this out. And Hackler picked a kicker! #headdesk
    Want to attract more interest in cards of people who play something other than QB, RB, WR, or TE? Shortprint those cards (at least for the unautographed versions). If there are 999 of Giovani Bernard and 499 of Dion Jordan, Jordan will sell well.

    • Scott W. Prusha permalink*
      April 18, 2013 3:57 pm

      Nick, I love me to defense…takes a little more time for them to make a hobby impact – but now guys like Ray Lewis, Troy Polamalu & Charles Woodson sell for as much (and sometimes more) than key skill guys.

    • April 18, 2013 4:12 pm

      Look, I’m not going to go out on a limb and say that any kicker would ever be worth a first-round pick these days. But I was truly surprised by the number of collectors in 2012 who continually asked about when our first autographs of guys like Greg Zuerlein, Blair Walsh and Jason Tucker would arrive.

  4. April 18, 2013 3:25 pm

    Dustin Hopkins…hope he is good if he is a kicker in the 1st round!

  5. Sport Card Collectors permalink
    April 18, 2013 3:37 pm

    Fun. And I know about Jason’s passion for the NFL, we discuss it all of the time.

    Great job guys this was a fun read

    • Scott W. Prusha permalink*
      April 18, 2013 3:58 pm

      It was fun to do, I even lost a little sleep studying up. Can’t wait to do a follow-up after guys are picked!

      • Sport Card Collectors permalink
        April 19, 2013 5:19 am

        Looking forward to it! As we I am sure will discuss the draft as well.

  6. Sean permalink
    April 18, 2013 3:41 pm

    This would be cool if you could make the templates available for us and we could do our own mockups. Make it say collector designed or something on the bottom.

  7. Sport Card Collectors permalink
    April 18, 2013 4:01 pm

    Also when it comes to the hobby, its all about the offense. I don’t collect any defense players. Most I give away or hand to people. They don’t have much pop in terms of the hobby. If I was playing Madden, I don’t lose any defensive players. But hobby wise, not offensive lineman either, its all about QB, WR and RB

  8. fatcatt permalink
    April 18, 2013 6:51 pm

    They don’t among young collectors but real collectors love there defense

  9. Bruce Myers permalink
    April 18, 2013 8:10 pm

    Hey Scott,
    As a Husker fan I have to agree with you about Rex Burkhead, something about that guy – he does things so right. Love your version of the Score card, can you get me one of those????
    Thanks,
    Bruce M.

  10. April 22, 2013 11:26 am

    I appreciate the different perspective on the draft, collectability matters as much as need to those who read and collect. I do wish less people knew about Ryan Nassib though, because I am a big Orange fan and his prices are rising pretty hard right now!

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