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One of the most exciting reasons to collect NFL rookie cards is that you get to watch their values spike if the player performs well on the field. To help capture that excitement, Upper Deck launched a new website to help collectors track 2009 NFL rookie cards, but also make predictions on which rookie would have the best week at OwnTheRookies.com.
Collectors who successfully guess Upper Deck’s “Rookie of the Week” will be entered into a drawing to win a box of 2009 NFL trading cards. For his two touchdown performance in a must win game, Chris “Beanie” Wells has earned top honors for Week 10. If you entered codes from Wells’ cards last week, stay tuned to the website to see if you are a winner!
Ever since the NFL switched to a two back rotation on most of the top teams, the draft has become a place to snatch that one player to make your team complete. This has led to many of the top running backs being selected earlier rather than later on day one, and has also put those players in a position to compete earlier than usual. Chris Wells definitely benefitted from this new phenomenon in the 2009 draft, being selected by the NFC Champion Arizona Cardinals. The difference between Wells and other backs like Donald Brown and Knowshon Moreno was that the Cardinals would need his services from day one.
The wheels had fallen off of perennial producer Edgerrin James, and they needed a franchise player to pick up right where he left off. Wells has had a slower start to the season than the Cardinals would have liked, but with Warner throwing to Boldin and Fitzgerald as much as he does, the touches for Beanie aren’t as high as they would be on a run focused team. Even without having great games week in and week out, the Cards are on top in the NFC West, and last week’s explosion out of the backfield sure helped to keep them there.
Wells entered Week 10 with only one touchdown in his previous games, and the offense was going to need a counter against a Seattle secondary that had done above average against the pass during the first part of the season. Wells’ per carry average and touchdown total were on the rise, and both improved even more with this great game.
He averaged 5.3 yards per carry, including a long 26 yard scamper, and a 23 yard reception that led to Cardinals scores. Pretty impressive considering that most of the other rookie running backs are working hard to find a groove with their respective teams at this time.
For collectors, Wells was already at the top of the value spectrum due to his position as a running back, as well as his strong college ties to hugely popular Ohio State University. His cards haven’t been on the level of a Mark Sanchez or Percy Harvin, but they have started to reflect his production as of late. My favorite of his current cards is probably the Premier auto jersey out of the flagship UD Football product, but I have an experience with Beanie that I value much more than just his cool rookie cards.
When the 2009 NFL Rookie Premiere took place this past March in Los Angeles, Beanie was invited to be a part of the event outside the walls of the LA Coliseum. He made an appearance at a local card shop, and I was lucky enough to be able to spend some time with him. He was extremely personable, and even said that he had collected cards growing up before getting into football full time. When looking at his first of many sports cards out of 2009 UD Draft and the early products of the year, he was impressed to be featured on cards that he had once sought after for his favorite players. Beanie signed a football for me as well as a few cards, and all of them currently reside on my shrine to the sport of champions.
As a collector, it’s always awesome to interact with a player you have the opportunity to chase through the card year. I have actually picked up a few extra of his rookie cards solely because he is a nice guy with a nice signature, as well as being a running back who plays like a freight train. As Wells continues to improve on a team that has become an annual contender, I know that my positive interactions with him will seem even more unreal.
Check in next week for the newest rookie to win “Rookie of the Week” honors, and don’t forget to enter in all your rookie card codes from the Upper Deck products you have collected so far. Not only can you win prizes, but the site has some great features that allow you to track rookies and their cards this season!
Adam Gellman runs the collecting blog Sports Cards Uncensored, and has been a collector of all things sports for over 15 years. To see more of his work, visit www.sportscardsuncensored.com (warning: strong language!).