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Top J.J. Watt Rookie Cards to Collect

Top J.J. Watt Rookie Cards to Collect

Defense may win championships but it does not always get its proper due from the collecting world. However, J.J. Watt is regarded as one of the modern greats and the J.J. Watt rookie cards continue to see interest.

After a strong college career at the University of Wisconsin, J.J. Watt was the 11th overall pick by the Houston Texans in the 2011 NFL Draft. He put forth a Hall of Fame career with the Texans before joining the Arizona Cardinals for his final years.

View the most popular J.J. Watt card auctions on eBay.

By now, collectors are quite familiar with the dynamic DE and J.J. Watt rookie cards remain on the hobby radar. With 24 official rookie card options to chase in 2011 products, including nine autographed cards, there are many choices. Pre-rookie and college-themed cards add to that total and make for a good mix across all budgets.

The guide below looks at some of the best overall cards from J.J. Watt's rookie season. Although many are official J.J. Watt rookie cards, several other releases from his rookie year are also included.

Top J.J. Watt Rookie Cards to Collect

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2011 Panini Gold Standard J.J. Watt RC #/299

Gold Standard is now a household name for many football and basketball collectors, but it was still in the early stages when the NFL debut came in 2011. Although J.J. Watt was not included in the autographed rookie relic portion of the checklist, collectors can still find his base rookie in the set. The low print run and premium design make it one of the top unsigned rookie cards for J.J. Watt.

Top J.J. Watt Rookie Cards to Collect 1

There is also a signed version of the card that is numbered to 499.

Top J.J. Watt Rookie Cards to Collect 2

2011 Panini Plates & Patches J.J. Watt RC #134 Autograph #/150

This 2011 Plates & Patches rookie card for J.J. Watt remains relevant thanks to the autograph and limited print run. The Silver foil parallel (#/55) is shown below.

Top J.J. Watt Rookie Cards to Collect 3

2011 Panini Playbook J.J. Watt RC #68 Autograph #/299

One of the most plentiful autographed rookie cards for J.J. Watt is available in 2011 Panini Playbook. The dual images of Watt make for an appealing card and several parallels bring that total closer to 400 copies.

Top J.J. Watt Rookie Cards to Collect 4

2011 Panini Playoff Contenders J.J. Watt RC #137 Rookie Ticket Autograph

Long a rookie collecting staple, 2011 Contenders features a sticker autograph like most of the other signed cards on the list, but the brand power pushes it near the top. The unnumbered rookie card for J.J. Watt was not part of the short print list released by Panini, so the exact run is unknown.

Top J.J. Watt Rookie Cards to Collect 5

2011 Panini Playoff National Treasures J.J. Watt RC #243 Autograph #/99

Although a sticker autograph on a high-end release is not the preferred option, the reputation of National Treasures along with a limited print run make this the most popular J.J. Watt rookie card. The Gold parallel, numbered to 49, is shown below.

Top J.J. Watt Rookie Cards to Collect 6

2011 Panini Prime Signatures J.J. Watt RC #193 Autograph #/199

2011 Prime Signatures presents one of the more simple rookie designs with an airbrushed background that makes the sole image of J.J. Watt the main focus of the card. The added autograph pushes interest higher, as does the limited print run.

Top J.J. Watt Rookie Cards to Collect 7

2011 Topps Chrome J.J. Watt RC #331

2011 Topps Chrome kicks things off with a simple J.J. Watt rookie card. The popular card includes an image of Watt from the 2011 NFL Combine. Although the base version can usually be obtained for a lower price, the many Refractor parallels command strong interest and produce high values.

Top J.J. Watt Rookie Cards to Collect 8

2011 Topps Platinum Rookie Refractor Autographs J.J. Watt #86 #/1,550

The base version of the Toppe Platinum card is more in line with the Topps Chrome rookie card for J.J. Watt, but the signed parallel has proven to be one of his best cards. The print run of 1,550 copies puts it among the most common autographs for Watt, but the card is notable because it is one of his only on-card autographs from 2011 NFL products.

Top J.J. Watt Rookie Cards to Collect 9

Notable Top J.J. Watt College and Prospect Cards

2011 Upper Deck Exquisite Collection J.J. Watt #80 Autograph #/70

Even with the lack of NFL licensing, several things make this 2011 J.J. Watt card the clear favorite. Limited to just 70 copies, it is one of the rarest cards for Watt. Also, the on-card signature, which is less common among Watt's 2011 cards, is written in gold ink. Lastly, Exquisite Collection is a collecting mainstay, and the premium look and overall popularity help the NCAA card remain very relevant.

Top J.J. Watt Rookie Cards to Collect 10

2011 Leaf Metal Draft Autographs J.J. Watt #RC-JJW

One of several early pre-rookie autographs for J.J. Watt, Leaf Metal Draft is arguably the most popular with an on-card signature and chromium design. The base version is not numbered, but there are several tiers of Prismatic parallels that are numbered to 50 or less.

There are other Leaf autographs for Watt, as well. 

Top J.J. Watt Rookie Cards to Collect 11

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Trey is a lifelong sports fanatic. He is a huge fan of the NBA and NFL, as well as soccer, college basketball and college football. As a kid, he collected football and basketball cards. In more recent years, he started collecting basketball cards again on a whim and has since expanded to other sports and entertainment options.

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