Donruss Football 2022 Is Back After A Long Delay – A Review [Checklist Added]
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.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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 Year||Average 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:
|Card||Average May ’22 selling price||Average Dec ’22 selling price||Percent Change|
|Tom Brady # 91 Panini XR||$8.40||$4.99||-40%|
|Tom Brady #294 Panini Prizm (Blue Prizm)||$11.20||$12.40||10%|
|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.
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 years past.
2022 Donruss Football Checklist
|wdt_ID||Set||Player||Team||Position||Card number||Number of cards|
|1||Action All-Pros||Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay Packers||QB||1|
|2||Action All-Pros||Tom Brady||Tampa Bay Buccaneers||QB||2|
|3||Action All-Pros||Jonathan Taylor||Indianapolis Colts||RB||3|
|4||Action All-Pros||Joe Mixon||Cincinnati Bengals||RB||4|
|5||Action All-Pros||Nick Chubb||Cleveland Browns||RB||5|
|6||Action All-Pros||Davante Adams||Las Vegas Raiders||WR||6|
|7||Action All-Pros||Cooper Kupp||Los Angeles Rams||WR||7|
|8||Action All-Pros||Deebo Samuel||San Francisco 49ers||WR||8|
|9||Action All-Pros||Justin Jefferson||Minnesota Vikings||WR||9|
|10||Action All-Pros||Ja'Marr Chase||Cincinnati Bengals||WR||10|
|11||Action All-Pros||Mark Andrews||Baltimore Ravens||TE||11|
|12||Action All-Pros||Travis Kelce||Kansas City Chiefs||TE||12|
|13||Action All-Pros||Zack Martin||Dallas Cowboys||G||13|
|14||Action All-Pros||T.J. Watt||Pittsburgh Steelers||LB||14|
|15||Action All-Pros||Nick Bosa||San Francisco 49ers||DE||15|
|16||Action All-Pros||Aaron Donald||Los Angeles Rams||DT||16|
|17||Action All-Pros||Micah Parsons||Dallas Cowboys||LB||17|
|18||Action All-Pros||Shaquille Leonard||Indianapolis Colts||LB||18|
|19||Action All-Pros||Trevon Diggs||Dallas Cowboys||CB||19|
|20||Action All-Pros||Justin Tucker||Baltimore Ravens||K||20|
|21||Action All-Pros Autographs||Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay Packers||QB||1||5|
|22||Action All-Pros Autographs||Jonathan Taylor||Indianapolis Colts||RB||3||10|
|23||Action All-Pros Autographs||Nick Chubb||Cleveland Browns||RB||5||10|
|24||Action All-Pros Autographs||Cooper Kupp||Los Angeles Rams||WR||7||15|
|25||Action All-Pros Autographs||Justin Jefferson||Minnesota Vikings||WR||9||25|
|26||Action All-Pros Autographs||Zack Martin||Dallas Cowboys||G||13||25|
|27||Action All-Pros Autographs||T.J. Watt||Pittsburgh Steelers||LB||14||15|
|28||Action All-Pros Autographs||Nick Bosa||San Francisco 49ers||DE||15||15|
|29||Action All-Pros Autographs||Micah Parsons||Dallas Cowboys||LB||17||25|
|30||Action All-Pros Autographs||Shaquille Leonard||Indianapolis Colts||LB||18||15|
|31||Action All-Pros Autographs||Trevon Diggs||Dallas Cowboys||CB||19||25|
|32||Action All-Pros Autographs||Justin Tucker||Baltimore Ravens||K||20||15|
|33||All Pro Kings||Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay Packers||QB||1||299|
|34||All Pro Kings||Nick Chubb||Cleveland Browns||RB||2||299|
|35||All Pro Kings||Joe Mixon||Cincinnati Bengals||RB||3||299|
|36||All Pro Kings||Deebo Samuel||San Francisco 49ers||WR||4||299|
|37||All Pro Kings||Ja'Marr Chase||Cincinnati Bengals||WR||5||299|
|38||All Pro Kings||Cooper Kupp||Los Angeles Rams||WR||6||299|
|39||All Pro Kings||Mark Andrews||Baltimore Ravens||TE||7||349|
|40||All Pro Kings||Zack Martin||Dallas Cowboys||G||8||349|
|41||All Pro Kings||Justin Tucker||Baltimore Ravens||K||9||349|
|42||All Pro Kings||Kevin Byard||Tennessee Titans||S||10||349|
|43||All Pro Kings||Trevon Diggs||Dallas Cowboys||CB||11||349|
|44||All Pro Kings||Micah Parsons||Dallas Cowboys||LB||12||349|
|45||All Pro Kings||Nick Bosa||San Francisco 49ers||DE||13||349|
|46||All Pro Kings||T.J. Watt||Pittsburgh Steelers||LB||14||349|
|47||All Pro Kings||Chris Jones||Kansas City Chiefs||DT||15||349|
|48||All Pro Kings||A.J. Terrell||Atlanta Falcons||CB||16||349|
|49||All Pro Kings||Maxx Crosby||Las Vegas Raiders||DE||17||349|
|50||All Pro Kings||Devin Duvernay||Baltimore Ravens||RS||18||349|
|51||All Pro Kings||Shaquille Leonard||Indianapolis Colts||LB||19||399|
|52||All Pro Kings||Lane Johnson||Philadelphia Eagles||OT||20||399|
|53||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Aaron Rodgers||Green Bay Packers||QB||1||100|
|54||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Nick Chubb||Cleveland Browns||RB||2||100|
|55||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Joe Mixon||Cincinnati Bengals||RB||3||100|
|56||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Deebo Samuel||San Francisco 49ers||WR||4||100|
|57||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Ja'Marr Chase||Cincinnati Bengals||WR||5||100|
|58||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Cooper Kupp||Los Angeles Rams||WR||6||100|
|59||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Mark Andrews||Baltimore Ravens||TE||7||100|
|60||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Zack Martin||Dallas Cowboys||G||8||100|
|61||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Justin Tucker||Baltimore Ravens||K||9||100|
|62||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Kevin Byard||Tennessee Titans||S||10||100|
|63||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Trevon Diggs||Dallas Cowboys||CB||11||100|
|64||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Micah Parsons||Dallas Cowboys||LB||12||100|
|65||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Nick Bosa||San Francisco 49ers||DE||13||100|
|66||All Pro Kings Studio Series||T.J. Watt||Pittsburgh Steelers||LB||14||100|
|67||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Chris Jones||Kansas City Chiefs||DT||15||100|
|68||All Pro Kings Studio Series||A.J. Terrell||Atlanta Falcons||CB||16||100|
|69||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Maxx Crosby||Las Vegas Raiders||DE||17||100|
|70||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Devin Duvernay||Baltimore Ravens||RS||18||100|
|71||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Shaquille Leonard||Indianapolis Colts||LB||19||100|
|72||All Pro Kings Studio Series||Lane Johnson||Philadelphia Eagles||OT||20||100|
|73||All-Time Gridiron Kings||Bo Jackson||Los Angeles Raiders||RB||1|
|74||All-Time Gridiron Kings||Tony Gonzalez||Kansas City Chiefs||TE||2|
|75||All-Time Gridiron Kings||Reggie Wayne||Indianapolis Colts||WR||3|
|76||All-Time Gridiron Kings||Peyton Manning||Denver Broncos||QB||4|
|77||All-Time Gridiron Kings||Tony Romo||Dallas Cowboys||QB||5|
|78||All-Time Gridiron Kings||Jim Kelly||Buffalo Bills||QB||6|
|79||All-Time Gridiron Kings||Ed Reed||Baltimore Ravens||S||7|
|80||All-Time Gridiron Kings||Kurt Warner||Arizona Cardinals||QB||8|
|81||All-Time Gridiron Kings||Ronnie Lott||San Francisco 49ers||S||9|
|82||All-Time Gridiron Kings||Charles Woodson||Oakland Raiders||CB||10|
|83||All-Time Gridiron Kings||Dan Marino||Miami Dolphins||QB||11|
|84||All-Time Gridiron Kings||John Randle||Minnesota Vikings||DT||12|
|85||All-Time Gridiron Kings||Wes Welker||New England Patriots||WR||13|
|86||All-Time Gridiron Kings||Michael Strahan||New York Giants||DE||14|
|87||All-Time Gridiron Kings||James Harrison||Pittsburgh Steelers||LB||15|
|88||All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio Series||Bo Jackson||Los Angeles Raiders||RB||1||100|
|89||All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio Series||Tony Gonzalez||Kansas City Chiefs||TE||2||100|
|90||All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio Series||Reggie Wayne||Indianapolis Colts||WR||3||100|
|91||All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio Series||Peyton Manning||Denver Broncos||QB||4||100|
|92||All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio Series||Tony Romo||Dallas Cowboys||QB||5||100|
|93||All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio Series||Jim Kelly||Buffalo Bills||QB||6||100|
|94||All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio Series||Ed Reed||Baltimore Ravens||S||7||100|
|95||All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio Series||Kurt Warner||Arizona Cardinals||QB||8||100|
|96||All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio Series||Ronnie Lott||San Francisco 49ers||S||9||100|
|97||All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio Series||Charles Woodson||Oakland Raiders||CB||10||100|
|98||All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio Series||Dan Marino||Miami Dolphins||QB||11||100|
|99||All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio Series||John Randle||Minnesota Vikings||DT||12||100|
|100||All-Time Gridiron Kings Studio Series||Wes Welker||New England Patriots||WR||13||100|
|Set||Player||Team||Position||Card number||Number of cards|