On the surface, the fact that top 2018 NFL Draft picks such as Baker Mayfield and Saquon Barkley have licensed trading cards in a 2017 product that released months before the draft can be something of a head-scratching notion. Of course, these aren’t just any Rookie Cards. In fact, they’re not Rookie Cards at all. They’re Extended Rookie Cards, or XRCs, inserted via redemption into Panini America’s 2017 Select Football. It marked the second straight season that Panini America officials have utilized the XRC formula to help deliver, so to speak, tomorrow’s top rookies today.
Falling at a rate of roughly three per case, 2017 Select Football’s XRCs were inserted for unsigned versions of special Select cards featuring the top five QBs, top five RBs, top five WRs and top five TEs selected in the 2018 NFL Draft; in addition, cards were inserted for autograph versions of the top five overall picks. Why does any of this matter now? Well, because the completed cards started making their way to waiting collectors last week through the Panini America Customer Service department.
Read more: The Official Blog of Panini America