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2021 Panini Donruss Football Factory Set

Welder used grinding stone on steel in factory with sparks.

With 405 total cards, the 2021 Panini Donruss Football Factory Set brings all your favorite 2021 rookies in one sealed set. Although the set is scheduled to release on October 15, you don’t have to wait that long to get the inside scoop on the Donruss box set.

The Scoop On 2021 Panini Donruss Football Factory Set

Panini decided to do this year that injected some excitement into the product by adding a 5-card pack of Optic Preview Rated Rookie holos.

In other words, each set has a sealed pack inside, and in the pack, you’re guaranteed to get five different holo Rated Rookie previews. This gives some big-pull potential to the set if you’re risky enough to roll the dice and open it.

But a word of caution, since these are Optic previews, the price will inevitably drop when 2021 Optic Football releases. Previews will only be the hot card for a short window of time, so act fast to make the most of it!

The 2021 Football Donruss blasters are already out (look for blasters on eBay).

Overview of 2021 Panini Donruss Football Factory Set

Donruss is one of the very few football brands that release a factory-sealed set. The Topps Baseball factory set is the standard in the hobby. However, the brand is seen as the “Topps” of football cards, so this makes sense.

The heart of the set is the 400-card base Donruss set. It includes all the top rookies, stars, and legends that you’re seeking for $300.

Of course, you know exactly what you’re getting when you buy this set, except the Optic Preview Holo pack has contents that vary in each set. So if you’re ripping the pack, you could pull something special. But, on the other hand, you may regret opening it entirely.

Complete Set

  • 400 cards overall
  • 250 base press proof premium
  • 100 rated rookies press proof
  • 50 variation press proof premium
    • Sold for $99

Best Cards In The 2021 Panini Donruss Football Factory Set

If you do much reading above the 2021 Donruss Set, one of the early head-scratchers you’ll see is that the Donruss 2021 base set is 350 cards while the box set is 400 cards. So what’s up with that?

Fifty photo variation cards come in addition to the base set, so if you add those in, you’ll reach 400.

While they might sound interesting, the variations aren’t that valuable. Even the Mahomes holos sell for under $4 on eBay, so don’t expect to make a killing there.

The rookies will be where the set finds its value. The top five quarterbacks collectively sell for about $100, and there are 100 total rookies to help prop up the set’s value.

That said, if you are looking for big-money cards, the Optic Holo Previews are your best chance. Although the prices will inevitably start dropping when these hit the market, right now, Trevor Lawrence sells for $250, Zach Wilson sells for right around $100, and the other three first-round quarterbacks fit somewhere between the two.

If you open the rookie’s pack and get one of the big QBs, you’ve all but locked up, making your money back on the set.

Flip, Rip or Hold?

We’ve talked about the numbers, so what’s the verdict? Is the 2021 Optic Football factory sealed set a flip, rip, or hold?

We can’t be sure what the set’s resell price will be following its release, but it will likely climb slightly. Best guess: $350. If that’s the case, flipping isn’t a bad option for a quick 15% profit.

2018 Donruss Factory Set $215
2019 Donruss Factory Set $360
2020 Donruss Factory Set $140

Will the 2021 Panini Donruss Football Factory Set be worth more than the 2019 set? (look for the 2019 set on eBay).

If you want to rip the box and – hypothetically – sell all the top rookies while holding onto the rest and awaiting their breakout year, that’s option two. But you’ll be doing good to get $200 for the singles, which means you’d have to get pretty lucky from the Optic Preview pack to make a profit.

As far as holding goes, that’s a significant risk. The 2020 Optic Factory Set sells for right around $100 today. To be fair, that set did not have any Optic Holo previews. However, previews are unlikely to age well.

The final, less-exciting option is to pass. Unfortunately, at $300, these sets are just expensive enough that it’s hard to profit from them. So while passing is probably the safest bet, flipping is perhaps the best option of the three.

The Rated Rookies In The 2021 Panini Donruss Football Factory Set

The main draw of the Donruss sets, at least traditionally, are the Rated Rookies. In this release, with the high-profile rookie QB’s, the importance of the Rated Rookies is greater than ever. Here are a few of the hottest names on the checklist:

Zach Wilson is one of the exciting Rated Rookies in 2021 Donruss (picture taken from Panini).

251 Trevor Lawrence – Jacksonville Jaguars
252 Zach Wilson – New York Jets
253 Justin Fields – Chicago Bears
254 Trey Lance – San Francisco 49ers
255 Mac Jones – New England Patriots
256 Kellen Mond – Minnesota Vikings
257 Kyle Trask – Tampa Bay Buccaneers
258 Travis Etienne Jr. – Jacksonville Jaguars
259 Najee Harris – Pittsburgh Steelers
260 Kyle Pitts – Atlanta Falcons
261 DeVonta Smith – Philadelphia Eagles
262 Ja’Marr Chase – Cincinnati Bengals
263 Jaylen Waddle – Miami Dolphins
264 Kadarius Toney – New York Giants
265 Rashod Bateman – Baltimore Ravens
266 Terrace Marshall Jr. – Carolina Panthers
267 Kenneth Gainwell – Philadelphia Eagles
268 Michael Carter – New York Jets
269 Ian Book – New Orleans Saints
270 Rondale Moore – Arizona Cardinals
271 Elijah Moore – New York Jets
272 Tutu Atwell – Los Angeles Rams
273 Davis Mills – Houston Texans
274 Tylan Wallace – Baltimore Ravens
275 Javonte Williams – Denver Broncos
276 D’Wayne Eskridge – Seattle Seahawks
277 Josh Palmer – Los Angeles Chargers
278 Dyami Brown – Washington Football Team
279 Trey Sermon – San Francisco 49ers
280 Nico Collins – Houston Texans

Trevor Lawrence is the most highly rated amongst the Rated Rookies (picture taken from Panini).

Top 5 Football Factory Sets For Investment

While the 2021 Donruss Optic set has plenty of potentials, some other sets are worth your investment, too. In chronological order, here’s my pick for five sets to scoop up before they dry up!

2005 Topps Football

One particularly noteworthy set is the 2005 Topps Football sealed set, including the Aaron Rodgers Topps Rookie.

2007 Topps Football

Any avid collector remembers this iconic rookie class. Led by Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, and Marshawn Lynch, the skill players from this set far exceeded the careers of the QBs.

2012 Topps Football

All the hype was around Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III, but it’s Russell Wilson and Ryan Tannehill that have withstood the test of time in this classic set.

2012 Topps Football is a good factory set for investment (look for 2012 Topps Football complete sets on eBay).

2017 Donruss Football

Patrick Mahomes. That’s probably saying enough, but there’s also Christian McCaffrey, Alvin Kamara, and many top-tier receivers in this group. The drawback is the $650 price tag that comes with this set.

2020 Donruss Football

Finally, I mentioned this set earlier because of its resell value after a year ($120ish), and I’m repeating it for the same reason: at $120, this is way too deep and talented of a rookie class for it not to be a good investment down the line.

Are You A Set Collector?

If you collect sets, we’d like to hear about them! What are you collecting? Let us know @card_lines.

Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes

Jesse Haynes is the co-founder of Solaro Shades, an Amazon #1 Bestselling novelist, and a lifelong sports card collector. His nonfiction work has been featured in Forbes, Inc., MarketWatch and more. At CardLines, Jesse’s specialties are basketball and football cards, not to mention making informative video and Instagram content.
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