For the last seven years the marketing and licensing arm of the National Football League Players Association (NFLPA) has put together a list of players each spring that they consider their Rising Stars.
The list is their projection on who will rank among the top sellers of officially licensed player merchandise for the upcoming season, and Chicago Bears rookie quarterback Justin Fields is number two on the rookie side of things.
Here’s their full list of first year players.
- Trevor Lawrence, QB, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Justin Fields, QB, Chicago Bears
- Zach Wilson, QB, New York Jets
- Trey Lance, QB San Francisco 49ers
- Kyle Pitts, TE, Atlanta Facons
- Ja’Marr Chase, WR, Cincinnati Bengals
- Devonta Smith, WR, Philadelphia Eagles
- Najee Harris, RB, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Travis Etienne, RB, Jacksonville Jaguars
- Mac Jones, QB, New England Patriots
Lawrence and Fields going 1-2 mirrors what happened on draft night when those two players sold the most draft night jerseys.
Fields has reinvigorated the Bears fanbase and we can’t wait to see what he can do in the Navy and Orange.
There’s also a veteran list of Rising Stars, but no Bears made that one. Here’s how the NFLPA predicts the new merchandise movers among the veteran players.
- Jalen Hurts, QB, Philadelphia Eagles
- Justin Jefferson, WR, Minnesota Vikings
- Aaron Jones, RB, Green Bay Packers
- Terry McLaurin, WR, Washington Football Team
- Jonathan Taylor, RB, Indianapolis Colts
- Clyde Edwards-Helaire, RB, Kansas City Chiefs
- Hunter Henry, TE, New England Patriots
- A.J. Brown, WR, Tennessee Titans
- Chase Claypool, WR, Pittsburgh Steelers
- Darren Waller, TE, Las Vegas Raiders
Here’s some of what they use to compile their lists.
Social media engagement, fantasy football status, early product demand, on-field performance, new faces in key markets are among factors in building the 2021 list of rookies and veterans to watch
For veterans to be considered for the Rising Stars list, they must not have appeared on any previous quarterly or year-end NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales List.
So in using that criteria, there is one Bears veteran that I think could sneak in and move some officially licensed product in 2021 and that’s wide receiver Darnell Mooney. The speedy Mooney had a very productive rookie season a year ago, and if he’s able to build off that his popularity in Chicago will continue to grow. He’s already one of the most talked about Bears on social media, and with a couple new quarterbacks in the Windy City he could improve on those 61/631/4 receiving numbers and make a name for himself nationally.
What are your thoughts on Fields coming in at 2 on their rookie list, and do you see any other Bears players making that type of jump in merchandise sales?