Donruss Football 2022 Is Back After A Long Delay – A Review [Checklist Added]

March 4, 2023

After quite the delay, Donruss Football 2022 was released on February 8th. Known for its lengthy base checklist and the Rated Rookie cards, Donruss looks to remain a favorite with its loyal fans who appreciate its clean, straightforward design. 

In this article, I’ll give you the rundown on this year’s release, the investment outlook, and a brief history of the beloved rated rookie card. 

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2022 Donruss Football is late to the party

Donruss has historically been one of the first football products to hit the shelves. It originally was a pre-season drop, but in the last few years, its release has been pushed back to the first few weeks in October. 

This year we didn’t even hear about Donruss’ release date until October. It was originally announced that it would drop in November, but that date was pushed back (multiple times) until it was settled that we would finally see Donruss on February 15th.

The main complication that comes from the delayed release date is the timing with the rookies. Most people associate Donruss with the classic Rated Rookie cards. When the product drops early it gives collectors a chance to collect rookies that might be flying under the radar. The ones who they want to buy low on before we’ve seen how their first season plays out.

That won’t be the case this year. The Super Bowl will already have passed by the time we see any graded Rated Rookies hit the resale market. 

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2023 Donruss Football Josh Allen

What to expect with Donruss Football 2022

Donruss Football is known for having its large base sets with 400 total players, with 100 of those being rookies. The large base set makes it a good fit for those who want to collect the less popular vets who don’t make the shortlist on smaller hobby products.

While many in the hobby collect Donruss for the Rated Rookies, there are other popular inserts to chase. Those include Super Bowl Downtown!, Gridiron Marvels, Night Moves and Rated Rookie Premium.

With a pre-sale price of only $270, Donruss is one of the more affordable entry points into the hobby side of football cards. 

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What’s a Donruss Rated Rookie?

Rated Rookies first hit the scene in Donruss Baseball in 1983. The popularity of rookie cards – generally defined as a player’s first official appearance in a base set – was starting to gain momentum around this time due to Mickey Mantle’s famous 1952 Topps card.

Donruss wanted an easily recognizable way to not only make their rookie cards pop, but let collectors know the select group that might become future stars. So, top prospects were given the designation of “Rated Rookie”.

Over the years the Rated Rookies gained a reputational edge over competitors. They successfully predicted the careers of HOF’ers Randy Johnson and Greg Maddux (players who were left off the star rookie lines of other players.)

In 1993 Donruss moved away from its iconic logo and experimented with 6 other designs over the next two decades. The Rated Rookie card was eventually discontinued in 2005. In 2009, however, Panini acquired Donruss. They revamped the Rated Rookie, using not only the old logo but expanding it into basketball cards as well.

Today the Rated Rookie remains incredibly popular in the world of football and baseball (ironically it’s slipped a little in Baseball.) They’re generally more affordable than other popular rookie brands but hold their value remarkably. It’s not uncommon for a player’s Rated Rookie to be amongst their most sought-after in circulation. 

For the complete (and very interesting) history on the Rated Rookie cards, check out our article on it here

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The history of Donruss Rated Rookie baseball cards! Fun facts, iconic cards.

Best SSP Hits

Everyone knows (and loves) the Rated Rookies. However, Donruss also has some pretty cool SSP inserts that can be fun to chase. Here are a couple of my favorites from the mock-ups that have been released so far:

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Super Bowl Downtown

I think this will probably be the insert to chase from Donruss Football 2022.

Downtown has already become one of the most popular inserts out there over the past few years. It generally features an artist’s rendition of the player in muted pastel colors and almost cartoonish outlines.

There is typically some tie to the player, but in a non-obvious way. As you can see below, the card features Matt Stafford against a mountainside with literal rams.

This year Donruss is debuting a new spin on the card, calling it “Super Bowl Downtown.” The goal is to maintain the classic Downtown look, while giving it a championship flavor.

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Night Moves

This Night Moves mock-up features Tom Brady in a celebratory pose. He’s set against on a color blast that contrasts a sharp black background.

Night Moves has an outer-space feel, and the black background gives it a very different feel from the other cards in the set that feature lighter tones and soft borders. I think this cards pops and I love that it is instantly recognizable.

Shop for 2022 Donruss Football Night Moves cards on eBay

Base Set Parallels

While we still don’t have an official checklist out, the breakdown for Donruss parallels has been pretty consistent from year to year. Here’s what we saw last year:

  • Aqueous Test
  • No Name
  • Canvas – 2 per case
  • Stat Line – #/500 or less
  • Jersey Number – #/99 or less
  • Press Proof Silver – #/100
  • Press Proof Silver Die-Cut – #/75
  • Press Proof Gold – #/50
  • Press Proof Gold Die-Cut – #/25
  • Press Proof Black – #/10
  • Press Proof Black Die-Cut – 1/1

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For those unfamiliar, the Aqueous Test and No Name parallels are throwbacks to 90’s era “error cards.” The Aqueous Test cards specifically are in reference to a somewhat mysterious set of cards manufactured in 1990 that featured players from the ’90 Donruss Baseball set but with the words “Aqueous Test” stamped boldly across the back. There were about 2,000-2,500 produced and they were never released to the public. Presumably, the cards were printed with a water-based material.

No Name cards are a bit more straightforward, as they are a nod to the printing errors you’d see in the ’80s and ’90s where cards accidentally featured no names. Neither of these cards are numbered parallels, but they are fun to stumble upon in a rip.

The rest of the parallels are more conventional, featuring a series of increasingly exclusive parallels from silver to gold to back. Each of those colors will have an even more limited “die-cut” version, which offers a more unique shape to the card.

Rated Rookie Autos

Autos fall one per hobby box, and will feature have short list of possible parallels.

Panini released the Rookie Portrait card in its initial mock-ups. This card features a hyper-realistic artist rendition of Garrett Wilson, that blurs the line between a portrait and real image. It captures a grittiness that definitely stands out from the others in the set. It’s also a rated rookie and will feature that designation in the bottom right corner.

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Relics round out the set.

So far, Panini has released a mock-up for the Rookie Phenom. This is a pretty standard RPA card, that features the patch and the auto at the center of the card, at the center of attention. The image is an action shot taken in practice, and the color scheme will vary to match the player’s team.

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In addition to Rookie Portrait and the Rookie Phenom card, the relic cards Jersey Kings, Leather Kings, Rookie Phenom Jersey Autographs, Canton Kings and All-Pro Kings will all feature numbered parallels that include autos.

Surprise Inserts

After the checklist was officially released, there were a few people I was surprised to see included. No, not just the fringe rookies or forgotten vets – Donruss 2022 NFL includes people like Steph Curry, Mark Wahlberg, and Santa Claus!

Here’s a look at a few of the surprise inserts that feature figures from outside the league.

Fans of the Game Autographs

Featuring celebrities inserts isn’t anything new for Donruss – they’ve done something like this for over 20 years. Nevertheless, it’s always a surprise to who’s included and why.

In this year’s set, Donruss has included Fans of the Game inserts that are aptly named, featuring celebrities known for their fandom, including:

  • Scott Hanson
  • Dale Earnhardt
  • Steph Curry
  • Kevin Durant
  • Rainn Wilson
  • Mark Wahlberg
  • Chuck Norris 

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There will be autos available for all except Durant. Odds on hitting an auto are not known.

Santa Claus Downtown! Card 

The history of Santa Claus inserts dates all the way back to the 80’s. It started off as a way of celebrating the holidays, but with Donruss coming out in February due to product delays, this product doesn’t have much of a Christmas-y feel.

I’m not sure why the old man has been such a hit over the years, but lots of people still love finding Santa Claus inserts.

This is the first time we’ve seen Santa on the ever-popular Downtown! Card, so if you’re a Mr. Claus collector, this card is a can’t-miss.

Shop for Santa Claus Downtown cards on eBay

Donruss Football 2022 hobby box breakdown

The 2022 Donruss Hobby Box will release on February 8th and boxes are preselling for around $270.

Here’s what each hobby box will contain:

  • 10 cards per pack
  • 18 packs per box,
  • 18 boxes per case

And here’s what Panini has released about the card breakdown inside:

  • 1 Auto
  • 1 Relic
  • 18 Rated Rookies
  • 12 Parallels
  • 42 Inserts

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2022 Donruss Football investment outlook

Donruss is a favorite for collectors because it has everything many collectors want in a product they can rip. It has a large base set, Rated Rookies, and a low price point. But how does it fare as an investment? Let’s take a look at how wax and singles have performed in recent years.

2022 Donruss Football wax

Holding wax has been a very lucrative approach to sports card investing in recent years. If you bought and held NFL boxes in 2017, you likely saw 5-6x return on value due to the amazing rookie class (led by Mahomes) and the overall market boom in 2020.

While many who have held wax in the past few years have still made a decent return, things are slowing down. The sports card market (like the economy as a whole) has seen a bit of a downturn, and buyers need to be more selective on what they choose to buy and hold. Plus Panini is pumping out more products than ever, and not all of them are going to hold their value. That’s especially true in this more turbulent market.

In addition to the market worries, NFL collectors need to consider the strength (or lack thereof) of the ’22 class. Quarterbacks are the primetime drivers of value in football sets. The only rookie QBs to gain much traction this year are Kenny Pickett and Brock Purdy. Of the two,

Pickett is the one who seems like he could have a solid future in the league, and he’s still a relatively weak prospect for being this class’s #1 QB. While there are some interesting players in other positions, they likely aren’t the type of players who will draw big interest in the years ahead.

Despite those two concerns, there remains one thing that’s working in Donruss ’22’s favor – the price is low. While I don’t expect Donruss to yield huge returns, I also don’t foresee it losing too much of its value. And even if it dips some, there isn’t much risk. Donruss is currently pre-selling for about $270. Here’s how recent years are currently selling:

Product YearAverage Selling Price in Jan ’23
2017$1500 (from a Nov.’22 sale)

2022 will probably be one of, if not the lowest-value Donruss releases we’ve seen in recent years. Nevertheless, historical pricing suggests it won’t drop too far below its presale value, and if the card market turns around, it could possibly work its way up to the $300-400 range later in the year.

Donruss Football 2022 singles

While the value of singles typically has a lot more to do with the player than the card, it’s still important to invest in cards that have a solid reputation among collectors. These are the cards that won’t slip in value when other releases come out later on, and are more likely to hold up when if the overall NFL market trends down.

When trying to determine specific value attached to a player, I like to see how a player like Tom Brady cards perform (since he already has an established legacy, and his values don’t really change based on how he’s playing.) I’ve already spent some time tracking Brady sales for other winter NFL releases such as Illusions, Impeccable, and XR.

I found that bigger names like Illusions and Impeccable didn’t see too much change throughout the year, whereas the XR card fell off pretty steeply around October.

So which camp does Donruss fall in? Take a look:

CardAverage May ’22 selling priceAverage Dec ’22 selling pricePercent Change
Tom Brady # 91 Panini XR$8.40$4.99-40%
Tom Brady #294 Panini Prizm (Blue Prizm)$11.20$12.4010%
Tom Brady #91 2021 Panini Impeccable$61.78$61.38-1%
Tom Brady [No Helmet Press Proof Gold] #1$8.40$4.99-40%

As you can see, the Tom Brady [No Helmet Press Proof Gold] #1 card fell in value quite substantially over the past year (especially compared to Tom Brady cards from Prizm and Illusions which held their value pretty well.)

This was the case with a few of the other inserts that I looked at as well. My gut feeling is that this trend is probably due to Donruss’ low price point cornering it into the “lower-tier” category. Of course, I am only looking at a few cards, but the general trend is not encouraging.

An important disclaimer here is that the Rated Rookies seemed to hold their value much better. It’s hard to get a good feel for exactly how steady they were since the rookies themselves are prone to much more volatile value swings in their first year (swings that don’t have much to do with the card itself.)

However, I still see Rated Rookies as a good long-term investment, but it might be worth being more cautious with the inserts.

The bottomline on 2022 Donruss Football

Donruss Football 2022 is finally close to hitting the shelves after numerous delays. Donruss is a great rip for those who enjoy opening products with a lot of cards and for anyone who is chasing Rated Rookies in the ’22 draft class.

On top of its big base set and Rated Rookies that come out to one per pack, there are also fun SSP inserts to chase such as Superbowl Downtown and Night Moves. Collectors who have enjoyed past versions of the product will like that they are stylistically similar to year’s past.

2022 Donruss Football Checklist

wdt_IDSetPlayerTeamPositionCard numberNumber of cards
1Action All-ProsAaron RodgersGreen Bay PackersQB1
2Action All-ProsTom BradyTampa Bay BuccaneersQB2
3Action All-ProsJonathan TaylorIndianapolis ColtsRB3
4Action All-ProsJoe MixonCincinnati BengalsRB4
5Action All-ProsNick ChubbCleveland BrownsRB5
6Action All-ProsDavante AdamsLas Vegas RaidersWR6
7Action All-ProsCooper KuppLos Angeles RamsWR7
8Action All-ProsDeebo SamuelSan Francisco 49ersWR8
9Action All-ProsJustin JeffersonMinnesota VikingsWR9
10Action All-ProsJa'Marr ChaseCincinnati BengalsWR10
11Action All-ProsMark AndrewsBaltimore RavensTE11
12Action All-ProsTravis KelceKansas City ChiefsTE12
13Action All-ProsZack MartinDallas CowboysG13
14Action All-ProsT.J. WattPittsburgh SteelersLB14
15Action All-ProsNick BosaSan Francisco 49ersDE15
16Action All-ProsAaron DonaldLos Angeles RamsDT16
17Action All-ProsMicah ParsonsDallas CowboysLB17
18Action All-ProsShaquille LeonardIndianapolis ColtsLB18
19Action All-ProsTrevon DiggsDallas CowboysCB19
20Action All-ProsJustin TuckerBaltimore RavensK20
21Action All-Pros AutographsAaron RodgersGreen Bay PackersQB15
22Action All-Pros AutographsJonathan TaylorIndianapolis ColtsRB310
23Action All-Pros AutographsNick ChubbCleveland BrownsRB510
24Action All-Pros AutographsCooper KuppLos Angeles RamsWR715
25Action All-Pros AutographsJustin JeffersonMinnesota VikingsWR925
26Action All-Pros AutographsZack MartinDallas CowboysG1325
27Action All-Pros AutographsT.J. WattPittsburgh SteelersLB1415
28Action All-Pros AutographsNick BosaSan Francisco 49ersDE1515
29Action All-Pros AutographsMicah ParsonsDallas CowboysLB1725
30Action All-Pros AutographsShaquille LeonardIndianapolis ColtsLB1815
31Action All-Pros AutographsTrevon DiggsDallas CowboysCB1925
32Action All-Pros AutographsJustin TuckerBaltimore RavensK2015
33All Pro KingsAaron RodgersGreen Bay PackersQB1299
34All Pro KingsNick ChubbCleveland BrownsRB2299
35All Pro KingsJoe MixonCincinnati BengalsRB3299
36All Pro KingsDeebo SamuelSan Francisco 49ersWR4299
37All Pro KingsJa'Marr ChaseCincinnati BengalsWR5299
38All Pro KingsCooper KuppLos Angeles RamsWR6299
39All Pro KingsMark AndrewsBaltimore RavensTE7349
40All Pro KingsZack MartinDallas CowboysG8349
41All Pro KingsJustin TuckerBaltimore RavensK9349
42All Pro KingsKevin ByardTennessee TitansS10349
43All Pro KingsTrevon DiggsDallas CowboysCB11349
44All Pro KingsMicah ParsonsDallas CowboysLB12349
45All Pro KingsNick BosaSan Francisco 49ersDE13349
46All Pro KingsT.J. WattPittsburgh SteelersLB14349
47All Pro KingsChris JonesKansas City ChiefsDT15349
48All Pro KingsA.J. TerrellAtlanta FalconsCB16349
49All Pro KingsMaxx CrosbyLas Vegas RaidersDE17349
50All Pro KingsDevin DuvernayBaltimore RavensRS18349
51All Pro KingsShaquille LeonardIndianapolis ColtsLB19399
52All Pro KingsLane JohnsonPhiladelphia EaglesOT20399
53All Pro Kings Studio SeriesAaron RodgersGreen Bay PackersQB1100
54All Pro Kings Studio SeriesNick ChubbCleveland BrownsRB2100
55All Pro Kings Studio SeriesJoe MixonCincinnati BengalsRB3100
56All Pro Kings Studio SeriesDeebo SamuelSan Francisco 49ersWR4100
57All Pro Kings Studio SeriesJa'Marr ChaseCincinnati BengalsWR5100
58All Pro Kings Studio SeriesCooper KuppLos Angeles RamsWR6100
59All Pro Kings Studio SeriesMark AndrewsBaltimore RavensTE7100
60All Pro Kings Studio SeriesZack MartinDallas CowboysG8100
61All Pro Kings Studio SeriesJustin TuckerBaltimore RavensK9100
62All Pro Kings Studio SeriesKevin ByardTennessee TitansS10100
63All Pro Kings Studio SeriesTrevon DiggsDallas CowboysCB11100
64All Pro Kings Studio SeriesMicah ParsonsDallas CowboysLB12100
65All Pro Kings Studio SeriesNick BosaSan Francisco 49ersDE13100
66All Pro Kings Studio SeriesT.J. WattPittsburgh SteelersLB14100
67All Pro Kings Studio SeriesChris JonesKansas City ChiefsDT15100
68All Pro Kings Studio SeriesA.J. TerrellAtlanta FalconsCB16100
69All Pro Kings Studio SeriesMaxx CrosbyLas Vegas RaidersDE17100
70All Pro Kings Studio SeriesDevin DuvernayBaltimore RavensRS18100
71All Pro Kings Studio SeriesShaquille LeonardIndianapolis ColtsLB19100
72All Pro Kings Studio SeriesLane JohnsonPhiladelphia EaglesOT20100
73All-Time Gridiron KingsBo JacksonLos Angeles RaidersRB1
74All-Time Gridiron KingsTony GonzalezKansas City ChiefsTE2
75All-Time Gridiron KingsReggie WayneIndianapolis ColtsWR3
76All-Time Gridiron KingsPeyton ManningDenver BroncosQB4
77All-Time Gridiron KingsTony RomoDallas CowboysQB5
78All-Time Gridiron KingsJim KellyBuffalo BillsQB6
79All-Time Gridiron KingsEd ReedBaltimore RavensS7
80All-Time Gridiron KingsKurt WarnerArizona CardinalsQB8
81All-Time Gridiron KingsRonnie LottSan Francisco 49ersS9
82All-Time Gridiron KingsCharles WoodsonOakland RaidersCB10
83All-Time Gridiron KingsDan MarinoMiami DolphinsQB11
84All-Time Gridiron KingsJohn RandleMinnesota VikingsDT12
85All-Time Gridiron KingsWes WelkerNew England PatriotsWR13
86All-Time Gridiron KingsMichael StrahanNew York GiantsDE14
87All-Time Gridiron KingsJames HarrisonPittsburgh SteelersLB15
88All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio SeriesBo JacksonLos Angeles RaidersRB1100
89All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio SeriesTony GonzalezKansas City ChiefsTE2100
90All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio SeriesReggie WayneIndianapolis ColtsWR3100
91All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio SeriesPeyton ManningDenver BroncosQB4100
92All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio SeriesTony RomoDallas CowboysQB5100
93All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio SeriesJim KellyBuffalo BillsQB6100
94All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio SeriesEd ReedBaltimore RavensS7100
95All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio SeriesKurt WarnerArizona CardinalsQB8100
96All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio SeriesRonnie LottSan Francisco 49ersS9100
97All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio SeriesCharles WoodsonOakland RaidersCB10100
98All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio SeriesDan MarinoMiami DolphinsQB11100
99All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio SeriesJohn RandleMinnesota VikingsDT12100
100All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio SeriesWes WelkerNew England PatriotsWR13100
SetPlayerTeamPositionCard numberNumber of cards