Tag Archives: upper deck star rookies 2013

Manuel, EJ

udst13 ejmanuelCard: Upper Deck Star Rookies 2013
Acquired: 2015 Trade, Spoodog Box Break
Failure: TTM 2013, C/o the Buffalo Bills

I had seen a lot of responses from EJ Manuel during his rookie season so I decided to take a stab at him. I was really disappointed when I didn’t get a response.  I like EJ and I still think he has the tools to succeed at the pro level. There are a lot of haters out there who want to see players do nothing less than fail, whether because it is a draft grade they gave them, they hated the guy at the college level,  or just an impatient member of the pro fan base, people sometimes just have it out for professional players.  Anyway I wrote a very encouraging letter -and never heard back. With the sting of that failure still fresh in my mind, well over a year later, I was talking to Spoodog and he offered me this EJ Manuel and a Marquise Goodwin autograph in exchange for one that I had given him earlier in the day.

It wasn’t until 2011 that EJ Manuel finally took over as the starter for the Florida State Seminoles. He had been battling future pro Christian Ponder at quarterback since he arrived on campus his Freshman year. His senior year was his signature season at FSU, leading the school to a 12-2 record. He threw for 3,392 yards and 23 TDs while rushing for 310 yards and 4 TDs on the ground.

Manuel was taken by the Buffalo Bills in the 2013 NFL Draft with the 15th overall pick. He’d start 10 games over his rookie season for new head coach Doug Marrone, finishing with 1,982 yards passing, 11 TDs, and 186 yards rushing.  In 2014, EJ started 4 games, but during the 4th game against the Houston Texans, Manuel threw an errant pass that was intercepted at the line by defensive lineman JJ Watt and returned 77 yards for a TD. This would be the turning point of the game and the season for Manuel. He’d be benched in favor of Kyle Orton, who as Marrone put it, “Gave the Bills a chance to win now.” With the departure of Marrone after the season, the re-retirement of Kyle Orton, and the hiring of Rex Ryan, it appears that EJ has been given a defacto second chance to lead the Bills.

Swearinger, DJ “DJ Swagg”

CR13 Swearinger to13 swearinger

Cards: Crown Royale 2013, Topps 2013, Upper Deck Star Rookies 2013
Acquired: IP 7/17/2014, Academy Texans Stampede Tour

djswaggThe Texans opted not to send players to any Texans Draft Parties outside of Houston. Apparently they decided to draw their wagons this year after their pitiful 2013 performance and keep their guys at home. I wasn’t happy about this at all, as Academy was running promotions with the Titans in Tennessee as part of their draft day program. I know my rancor towards Academy on Twitter- especially being a Texas company touting the traitorous Titans, didn’t make it happen, but I’d love to say somebody paid attention or listened. In mid July the Texans made it down to Austin for their Stampede Tour. I was happy to see DJ Swearinger and Eric Brown were on the list. I quickly made an order to my card shop, as I was surprised not to have any Swagg cards in my collection, and biting my nails off through the wait, 4 of them showed up for me just in time for the event.

Even though the weather was nasty, it worked to my advantage, as the players were late getting to a previous commitment. They were still on the radio at the other event, when I showed up at Academy only 30 minutes early. Being that Austin traffic was unforgiving I knew I was in for a long wait. Academy was smart about it. They issued numbers to everybody who came through the door so that we didn’t argue over spots in line. That was perfect. I ended up with #36. The players showed up over an hour late. That was fine, as it allowed me to get as many cards as I needed signed. I really caught Swearinger’s attention with the Crown Royale card he really pined over. When I got up to DJ again the second time, I asked him if he wanted any of the cards I had. He wanted the SP Gamecocks card, so I made a deal that if he’d sign the other two, it was his. He had no problem with that and the handlers did not make a fuss.

ud13st swearingerThe Texans had a rough 2013. With the departure of safety Glover Quin to Detroit, it left a gaping hole in the secondary. To address the issue, the team ran out and desperately signed still injured Super Bowl champion Ed  Reed to a contract, and then drafted DJ Swearinger in the second round of the 2013 draft to learn from the well versed Reed. Ed however rarely saw the field for the team and was cut midway through the season. In the meantime, DJ Swagg got a trial by fire in the secondary. He’d start 10 games for the Texans, recording 54 tackles, 1 forced fumble, 4 pass defensed, and his first career interception against the Arizona Cardinals (Carson Palmer).

DJ is an active personality on Twitter, who really loves to make the highlight play. A viscious hitter, he’s always the subject of fines and conversation between referees when he lays down a lick, even drawing the ire of Peyton Manning during a preseason game who earned an unsportsmanlike penalty for taunting Swearinger. Swearinger also has a knack for the strip, forcing 2 fumbles within the 10 yard line during the 2014 season. A college teammate of #1 pick JaDeveon Clowney, Swearinger went to bat for him and is very excited about having him on the Houston Texans.