Joe Webb: Story of the Ultimate Football Card Sleeper
Going into to the 2010 NFL Draft, former University of Alabama-Birmingham Blazers quarterback Joe Webb thought his best shot at making the NFL would be at the Wide Receiver position, which figured to be the ideal position to take full advantage of his speed, strength, hands and insane vertical leap.
Tonight, Hank Williams Jr.'s legendary Monday Night Football intro could mark the beginning of a brilliant hobby career for the Vikings 6th rounder. Come Tuesday morning, the hobby world will know whether Joe Webb is rowdy enough to hang with 2010's top hobby rookies.
When it comes to hobby potential, the quarterback position is the undisputed king of the football card world. The half back and wide receiver position are a distant second and third to the field general.
Many of Joe Webb's early 2010 football cards made the assumption that the Vikings 6th round pick would play wide receiver in the NFL. Tonight, the rookie will start at QB for the Minnesota Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium, the two year old outdoor home of the University of Minnesota Golden Gophers, offering yet another chapter in the oddest season in Vikings history.
In under a year's time Joe Webb has gone from being a projected WR not worthy of receiving an invite to the rookie combine in Indianapolis to the starting QB of the Minnesota Vikings. During UAB's pro day, Webb recorded a 42.5" vertical, 11'5.5" long jump, and benched 21-reps of 225 lbs, all of which would have been combine bests for the WR position. Webb also ran a 4.43 40-yard dash for good measure.
Webb was originally drafted in the 6th round of the 2010 NFL Draft by the Vikings as WR, but the Vikings decided to keep Webb at QB after he proved to be a better QB prospect than WR during training camp. During Webb's 2009 senior season at UAB, he passed for 2,774 yards and rushed for 1,427 yards, which was the third highest rushing total for a QB in NCAA history.
Two things that have fascinated collectors since the beginning of cards has been potential and unworldly athleticism. Joe Webb may never pan out, but rest assured the 6'3", 225 lbs QB from UAB will be given a much larger window to succeed than your average sleeper rookie signal caller such as the Arizona Cardinals John Skelton.
Another thing that bodes well for Webb's football cards is that he could fail at quarterback and still find relevance elsewhere on a football field (KR, PR, WR). Being able to play multiple positions is one of the hobby's most under-appreciated multipliers of long term card value.
Tomorrow morning, Joe Webb could wake up as the next big thing in the world of football cards. Conversely, tomorrow the Vikings could wake up to the reality that Webb won't be the team's long term answer at QB. My gut tells me that at the very least, Webb's card will wake up Tuesday morning in better shape that the morning before.
Bottom line, one of the most physically gifted sleeper QB's in recent memory, who was originally drafted in the 6th round to play WR, will make his first professional start on Monday Night Football against the Chicago Bears in the Vikings first outdoor home game since 1981. To me, that sounds like the beginning of an intriguing hobby plot line.