Ryan Malleck played for Virginia Tech from 2012-2015. He saw action in 33 games, recording 62 receptions for 658 yards and 4 touchdowns. Scouts felt he had the size to work the field as a tight end at the pro level but felt his blocking needed some polish. He went unselected in the 2016 NFL Draft. Since that time Malleck has stayed busy, logging time on the Giants, Steelers, Ravens, and later in 2017- the Houston Texans. He made his first professional catch while with Houston for 3 yards. Ryan resigned with the Steelers in 2018, but was waived and placed on IR for the 2018 season after an undisclosed injury.
Jordan Zumwalt played linebacker at UCLA from 2010 to 2014. He finished his time at the college with 216 total tackles (141 solo, 75 assisted), 20 tackles for loss, 5 sacks, 3 interceptions for 56 yards- taking one to the house for a TD, and one forced fumble. Considered an over achiever, teams thought he needed to polish his game at the pro level, but could easily find himself a home as a special teams player or backup linebacker.
The Steelers selected Jordan in the 6th round of the 2014 NFL Draft. He spent both 2014 and 2015 on injured reserve. In 2016, Zumwalt hit the field in the preseason and coaches were impressed by his play- however he was waived during final cuts.
I don’t know why but I got thoroughly turned off by Leaf after 2014, however for me it may have had something to do with risk versus reward, them floating ‘wood’, or a bit of me just being plain greedy. Point being is when I go spend my shrinking budget dollar, it goes typically to either Sage or Leaf. In the end Sage won that battle. So other than design what became the main driving factor between my choices? Well quality of name would be next- but when the quality is the same- it simply came down to quantity and Sage trumped Leaf in spades. Sage offers 3-4 autographs per box as opposed to Leaf which offered just 1-2 for the same price point.
Card: Donruss Elite 2017 (79/99)
Acquired: 2017, EBay
Zach Cunningham played for the Vanderbilt Commodores from 2014-2016. As the doormat of SEC football, Vanderbilt is not known for its football bloodlines, but Cunningham impressed in his time at the school. With a strong motor, the uncanny ability to always be around the play, and the speed to cover runningbacks and tight ends, Zach recorded 256 total tackles (156 solo/ 100 assists), 36 tackles for loss, 6 sacks, 6 passes defended, and 6 forced fumbles over 3 years. Zach lasted well into the second round of the 2017 NFL draft where he was selected by the Houston Texans. The Texans were drafting based on best available player, and draft pundits considered this selection a steal.
Since there was a bevvy of activity on EBay for both the Texans first round pick (Watson) and 3rd round pick (Foreman) at blown up prices, I thought I’d see what the market was dictating for Zach’s rookie card. I really liked the design of this card and sniped out the card at an incredibly cheap price.
Zach finished his rookie NFL season in impressive fashion. Playing in all 16 games he had 90 combined tackles, 1.5 sacks, and 6 pass deflections.