Panini America, NFLPA Unveil Trading Card Index Rankings for First Quarter of 2018

May 17, 2018


The rookies have arrived! During the recently completed 2018 NFL Draft, the NFL welcomed its next class of performers. Seemingly every prospect in this class had spent the last several months being assessed and evaluated in every way possible – by football card collectors.

The results of that scrutiny dominate the rookie rankings on the just-released NFLPA Panini Trading Card Index for the first quarter of 2018. Top-rated skill position draft picks dominate the initial list with Saquon Barkley (Penn State), Baker Mayfield (Oklahoma), Sam Darnold (USC), Josh Allen (Wyoming) and Lamar Jackson (Louisville) comprising the top five. Sitting just outside the top 10, at No. 11, is Bradley Chubb (NC State), the only defensive player to crack the rookie or veteran list.The first rookie rankings of 2018 (complete list below) are based on the fervent trading activity surrounding Panini America’s two collegiate football products (2018 Elite Draft Picks Football and 2018 Contenders Draft Picks Football) and first NFL product (2018 Score Football) of 2018.

“It’s an honor to make the NFLPA Panini Trading Card Index, especially as the only defensive player,” said Bradley Chubb. “After touring Panini HQ with VP of Marketing Jason Howarth and understanding the metrics and what types of players and positions are considered most collectible, it’s exciting to see that we can break some trends and find myself in great company with all the skill position guys on the list.”

The arrival of the 2018 rookie class has forced a major shakeup on the veteran list this quarter as last season’s top rookies (including Patrick Mahomes II, Deshaun Watson, Alvin Kamara, Mitchell Trubisky, Christian McCaffrey and more) transition to the veteran list. That migration has bumped former No. 1 mainstay Tom Brady to No. 3 behind Mahomes and Watson.

Panini America – the exclusive trading card manufacturer of the NFL and NFL Players Association (NFLPA) – and NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the NFLPA, created the Panini NFLPA Trading Card Index in 2016 as a way to rank the top-performing football players (15 rookies, 15 veterans) in the licensed trading card industry. Once a quarter, the NFLPA Panini Trading Card Index ranks players based on several key factors, including secondary-market transactions, overall trading volume and collectibility based on on-field performance and expectations (e.g., rookie hype and collector speculation).

Key sales driving the final rookie rankings this quarter include a one-of-a-kind 2018 Elite Draft Picks Football Barkley autograph card that sold for $1,499.99 and a one-of-a-kind 2018 Contenders Draft Picks Football Mayfield autograph that sold for $1,875. On the veteran side, a Mahomes 2017 National Treasures Football autographed Rookie Card limited to just five copies sold for $5,000. A one-of-a-kind Watson-autographed card from 2017 National Treasures Football changed hands for $4,850.

The 2018 NFLPA Panini Trading Card Index: Rookies (1Q)

  1. Saquon Barkley, New York Giants
  2. Baker Mayfield, Cleveland Browns
  3. Sam Darnold, New York Jets
  4. Josh Allen, Buffalo Bills
  5. Lamar Jackson, Baltimore Ravens
  6. Josh Rosen, Arizona Cardinals
  7. Mason Rudolph, Pittsburgh Steelers
  8. Sony Michel, New England Patriots
  9. Nick Chubb, Cleveland Browns
  10. Calvin Ridley, Atlanta Falcons
  11. Bradley Chubb, Denver Broncos
  12. Derrius Guice, Washington Redskins
  13. J. Moore, Carolina Panthers
  14. Ronald Jones II, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
  15. Rashaad Penny, Seattle Seahawks

 The 2018 NFLPA Panini Trading Card Index: Veterans (1Q) 

  1. Patrick Mahomes II, Kansas City Chiefs
  2. Deshaun Watson, Houston Texans
  3. Tom Brady, New England Patriots
  4. Leonard Fournette, Jacksonville Jaguars
  5. Alvin Kamara, New Orleans Saints
  6. Carson Wentz, Philadelphia Eagles
  7. Mitchell Trubisky, Chicago Bears
  8. Jimmy Garoppolo, San Francisco 49ers
  9. Christian McCaffrey, Carolina Panthers
  10. Kareem Hunt, Kansas City Chiefs
  11. Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay Packers
  12. JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pittsburgh Steelers
  13. Dalvin Cook, Minnesota Vikings
  14. Ezekiel Elliott, Dallas Cowboys
  15. Jared Goff, Los Angeles Rams

The Panini Group, established more than 50 years ago in Modena, Italy, has subsidiaries throughout Europe, Latin America and the United States.  Panini is the world leader in officially licensed collectibles and is the most significant publisher of collectibles in the U.S., with exclusive licenses for the NFL, NFLPA, NBA, FIFA, College and licenses with the MLBPA, NHL,NHLPA and Disney, and other key properties from many other licensors. Panini is also the exclusive trading card and sticker partner of the Pro Football Hall of Fame and Pop Warner Little Scholars, Inc. Panini has distribution channels in more than 100 countries and employs a staff of over 800. For more information visit us at, or You can also follow Panini America on social media platforms Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram.

The National Football League Players Association is the union for professional football players in the National Football League. Established in 1956, the NFLPA has a long history of assuring proper recognition and representation of players’ interests. The NFLPA has shown that it will do whatever is necessary to assure that the rights of players are protected—including ceasing to be a union, if necessary, as it did in 1989. In 1993, the NFLPA again was officially recognized as the union representing the players, and negotiated a landmark Collective Bargaining Agreement with the NFL. The current CBA will govern the sport through 2020.

NFL Players Inc., the licensing and marketing arm of the NFLPA, connects businesses to the power of NFL players. NFL Players Inc. creates customized business solutions for partners, through licensing, marketing strategy, and player activations. For more information, please visit