While the 2017 NFL Draft class result is rightfully centered on Patrick Mahomes, there are other players who are enjoying productive careers. For collectors who took a chance on a small school wide receiver back then, it’s been a nice ride. Cooper Kupp rookie cards won’t challenge Mahomes for potential long term value–after all, it is a quarterback world–but he’s proven to be one of the current generation’s most productive offensive weapons.
The Cupp Chronicles
A native of Yakima, WA, Kupp was a standout at Davis High School where he was a two sport star in both football and basketball for the Pirates. Ironically enough, he earned The Associated Press First Team 4A All-State honors as a defensive back and only honorable mention for his performance at the wide receiver position. The versatile athlete also led Davis to a nearly undefeated record and captured the state basketball championship during his senior year.
The Eastern Washington Eagles were lucky enough to land Kupp coming out of high school. He wasted no time making a huge splash as a redshirt freshman, setting numerous single-season school and Division 1-AA National receiving records, including national freshman records for receptions, receiving yards, receiving touchdowns and consecutive games with the touchdown.
By the time it was all said and done, Kupp had his name atop nearly every single major FCS career receiving record as he set the college football all-division career receiving yards record with just south of 6,500 yards. He finished his career as the NCAA FCS career leader in receiving touchdowns and receptions, won the Jerry Rice Award in 2013 in the Walter Payton Award in 2015 and walked out of Eastern Washington as the most prolific pass catcher college football has seen.
The Los Angeles Rams selected Kupp in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft. He was the seventh wide receiver taken and the second highest pick out of Eastern Washington in school history.
His rookie season in the league saw him start only six games but contribute a very productive 62 receptions for 869 yards and five touchdowns. He was named to the 2017 All Rookie Team by the Football Writers Association.
After an injury shortened sophomore season, Kupp came back with a true breakout year in 2019, grabbing almost 100 receptions for nearly 1,200 yards and 10 touchdowns.
In 12 starts and 2020 he grabbed just shy of 100 receptions for almost a thousand yards but 2021 has been his breakout season. Through the season’s first 12 games, he recorded 100 catches for 1,366 yards and a career high 11 touchdowns.
Kupp rookie cards flew under the radar for awhile, but those days have come to an end. Any fan or collector can’t help but notice the prolific numbers he’s putting up and that’s starting to translate into hobby love. He’s so good that his father can’t even have him as a freebie in fantasy football anymore.
Below we have listed three tiers of Kupp rookies for your consideration.
Interestingly enough, Kupp has 36 true rookie cards, with over half of those being a jersey or autograph or a combination of both.
All World Tier
1. 2017 Panini National Treasures #198 Cooper Kupp JSY AU RC
Like with many, if not most modern players, the National Treasures rookie card is the one to get. It’s the top dog, bar none. This example shows a horizontal design with Kupp pictured with two hands on the ball and generally a multicolored swatch and an on card autograph numbered to just 99 copies. You can still grab one for a fairly modest three-figure price.
2. 2017 Panini Impeccable #118 Cooper Kupp HEL PAT/75 RC
Impeccable pulled off the nearly impossible by inserting a piece of a player’s helmet on cards for a few years. It’s a beautiful piece done very well and numbered to just 75 copies. These are not easy to find online but you can check recent selling prices here.
3. 2017 Panini Gold Standard #215 Cooper Kupp JSY AU/99 RC
Gold Standard offers all the bells and whistles you would expect from a high-end card including a patch and an expected autograph, although its a sticker in this particular case. What really separates this card from others in this range is the beautiful gold foil. This card may not always see high-end prices but it looks the part of a high-end card.
All Pro Tier
1.2017 Panini Plates and Patches #220 Cooper Kupp JSY AU/99 RC
As mentioned before, over half of Cooper’s true rookie cards are jersey/patch/autos, so you will see a few on the second tier of our list. This is a nice RPA that will be at a step down from some of the big players on the list but is a nice offering. It may be a bit dull but in design and it’s a sticker auto, but the price is hard to beat. Earlier this fall, a couple of them sold in the $50-$60 range.
2. 2017 Panini XR #192 Cooper Kupp JSY AU/99 RC
This one from XR offers multiple jersey pieces and a sticker autograph but it’s a very unique design and is a cheaper option than the cards listed above it with most sales at well under $100.
3.2017 Certified #218 Cooper Kupp JSY AU/499 RC
Aesthetically speaking, Certified is, pound for pound, as nice as any card on this list. It offers a great photo shoot shot of Cooper with ball in hand on a foil backdrop as well as a multicolored non-game worn swatch and a sticker autograph. Although it may lose some points for the sticker, it’s a big win in my book…especially at $80 or less.
Redshirt Freshman Tier
1. 2017 Panini Prizm #203 Cooper Kupp RC
This is once again the flagship for modern, widely available rookie cards across various sports. In 2017 all base rookies had the Silver Prizm effect, which was (and still can be) confusing to some but it does add to the visual appeal of the card. This card could have been had for the price of small french fries at McDonald’s not so long ago but it is seeing some hobby love but is yet still affordable. Prices for PSA 10s have gone from under $100 a year ago to highs of over $200 and back down to the $130-$175 range in recent weeks. Ungraded copies can be had for $25 or less as of now.
2. 2017 Rookies and Stars #273 Cooper Kupp RC
Rookies and Stars is a brand that made its mark in baseball but it stands as a solid lower end product from this particular era and time frame. It offers a nice picture of the Rams’ #18 from a rookie photo shoot and offers a huge splash of team color in the background. It can be had for just a few bucks for a collector on a budget.
3. 2017 Panini Phoenix #133 Cooper Kupp RC
Although Phoenix boxes and packs can carry a hefty price tag, the vast majority of base rookies are relatively cheap and generally appealing to the eye. This one’s a bit pricier than the Rookies and Stars rookie, but is still a solid choice for those who prefer a low risk option.
You can check out the 18 most watched Cooper Kupp card auctions on eBay below and see all of his rookie cards here.
About Tony Reid
From the time he was a little kid, Tony has been a huge sports fan. If he could play sports, watch sports and talk about sports it was a great day. From as early as he was drawn to sports, Tony was drawn to collecting sports cards. Not much has changed over the years. He collects RCs of star players in baseball, basketball and football. He also has a soft spot for first autographs of MMA stars. If you want to talk to Tony about the greatness of Michael Jordan, Bo Jackson or Ken Griffey, Jr. you can reach him at @reidrattlecage on all social media platforms.