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Top 10 2007 NFL Rookies to Collect


However you're feeling about your team coming out of the 2007 NFL Draft, you have to admit one thing: it sure wasn't boring. The first round alone had more than its share of drama, with the uncertainty at the top of the draft, the Dolphins' stunning pick of Ted Ginn Jr. with the ninth overall pick and the agonizing slide of Brady Quinn.

Now that the reading of names off index cards is over, the thoughts of collectors quickly turn to football cards. Specifically, people are giving some thought to which of the 2007 rookies to add to their want lists.

Here's a revised look at 10 top rookies to collect now:

1. Adrian Peterson, RB, Minnesota Vikings

Nick Tylwalk

Rated as a top 3 talent by some well-known draft experts, Peterson slid a little in the first round - but not too far. He's unquestionably the top running back from the 2007 draft and collectors know it.

Some concerns remain about his health status, but if the Oklahoma product is able to get on the field this season, he's a very good bet to produce immediately. Even sharing carries with Chester Taylor shouldn't hurt him too much. Expect his rookies to be as hot as anyone's heading into the season, but do keep an eye on injury news.

2. JaMarcus Russell, QB, Oakland Raiders

Nick Tylwalk

The big man with the big arm was the No. 1 overall pick, and he'll be suiting up for a team that has little choice but to start him soon. Russell will have to beware of opposing rushers because the Raiders didn't do much to improve the protection in front of him, but at 265 pounds he's bigger than plenty of blitzing linebackers.

When you combine his draft position with his physical ability, you've got an enticing mix for football card collectors. Add in the fact that he'll be playing for a team that has fans nationwide and you've got one collectible rookie quarterback.

3. Brady Quinn, QB, Cleveland Browns

Nick Tylwalk

Quinn took a roller coaster ride on draft day, getting passed on by a bunch of teams that appeared to need a young quarterback, then ending up with the Browns after they traded up to the 22nd pick to grab him. It wasn't the way he pictured it going down, but he'll be playing for the team he idolized as a young boy.

Will Quinn's slide hurt his rookie cards? Probably... but not that much. He still has a huge following from his Notre Dame days, and his cards will be on fire regionally. He'll bring higher prices than anyone in the Midwest early on but will likely trail Russell everywhere else.

4. Calvin Johnson, WR, Detroit Lions

Nick Tylwalk

True to his word, Matt Millen didn't allow his past failures drafting wide receivers with high first-round picks to dissuade him from taking Johnson. The question now is whether collectors will find it just as easy to forgive and forget.

Johnson is too talented to suffer the same fate as Charles Rogers and Mike Williams. The justified hype will put him right up near the top to begin the season, but the cynical segment of the card collecting public will want to see something before they buy in. If he makes an immediate impact, he could easily shoot to the top of this list.

5. Marshawn Lynch, RB, Buffalo Bills

Nick Tylwalk

Lynch was a distant second to Peterson in the minds of draft gurus, but he's going to a team that needs him even more. The Bills said goodbye to Willis McGahee this offseason, and Lynch should be able to wrestle most of the carries away from Anthony Thomas pretty quickly.

Running backs can transcend regional boundaries in the hobby more easily than players at most other positions, so it shouldn't matter too much that Bills' fans are located primarily in the Northeast. Once Lynch starts flashing his multidimensional skills, he'll catch the eyes of collectors everywhere.

6. Ted Ginn Jr., WR/KR, Miami Dolphins

Nick Tylwalk

Devin Hester made Ted Ginn a ton of money. The shock of the first round was seeing Ginn go in the top 10, especially since opinions are mixed on his potential to get open in the NFL.

One thing that isn't in question is Ginn's raw speed, and he'll create a feeling of excitement every time he touches the ball on kick and punt returns. Since the Dolphins don't look like they improved themselves too much on paper, Ginn should get a chance to field plenty of kickoffs, and card collectors will be watching anxiously.

A word of caution: Ginn may be the top rookie to sell high if he ends up struggling as a receiver.

7. Robert Meachem, WR, New Orleans Saints

Nick Tylwalk

Wide receivers came off the board all over the first round, but few are going to situations as good as Meachem. He'll be playing in a high-powered offense in New Orleans, and the numerous other options at Drew Brees' disposal will mean the rookie from Tennessee will see some favorable match-ups.

As far as collectibility goes, the Saints are the new America's Team. With hot 2006 rookies Reggie Bush and Marques Colston paving the way, Meachem is sure to be on the radar of collectors before the 2007 season gets underway.

8. LaRon Landry, S, Washington Redskins

Nick Tylwalk

Defenders need hobby love too. Over the past few years, safeties have been getting it, and Landry stands out at that position even in a relatively deep 2007 talent pool.

The Redskins have plenty of fans and already have a big presence in the secondary in the form of Sean Taylor. Landry is just as skilled with a much more coach-friendly personality, and he's the top candidate to be the top defensive rookie to collect this year.

9. Chris Henry, RB, Tennessee Titans

Nick Tylwalk

Okay, so more fans know the troubled Bengals WR of the same name than this back out of Arizona. Here's a quick primer: he weighs almost 230 pounds (that's bigger than Peterson) and he ran one of the fastest times at the combine.

In Tennessee, he seems to have just as good a chance to emerge with the majority of the carries as unproven LenDale White. It will help that collectors are locked in on the Titans thanks to 2006 Offensive Rookie of the Year Vince Young. Henry may start slower than the rest of the guys on this list, but don't be shocked if the buzz on him builds as the season approaches.

10. Troy Smith, QB, Baltimore Ravens

Nick Tylwalk

Getting drafted at the tail end of Round 5 usually doesn't earn you a spot in any discussion of the top collectible rookies. It's a little different when you have your name on the Heisman Trophy though, as the winners have a little hobby niche of their own no matter how they fare as pros.

Smith will also be intriguing because you actually could see him starting for Baltimore down the road. Steve McNair is nearing the end, and the Kyle Boller era never got going. Hold onto any Smith rookies you pull and stay tuned.

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