In the month after the NFL Draft, select rookies enjoyed a different weekend on the horizon. Two rookies represented the Oakland Raiders.
Every year, the National Football League Players’ Association (NFLPA) puts together a weekend for that year’s draft class’ most marketable athletes called the NFLPA Rookie Premiere. The selection process is quite simple, as the NFLPA determines the 40 most “marketable” rookies and invites them to the Premiere.
Upon arriving to the Premiere, the athletes spent the weekend meeting with “partners” (or organizations looking to form a business relationship with the athletes), and attending sponsored events, which intend to boost the athlete’s social media presence.
The Premiere is the first major NFL event focused on marketability of the year, and for these rookies, this is where it all begins. Not every team sees a selection, and teams can have more than one as well. The Packers’ and Saints’ draft picks did not receive an invite, while the Oakland Raiders had two rookies receive the nod to attend the Premiere.
Jacobs and Renfrow
One of the Raiders’ selections was almost an immediate lock for the Premiere. However, the other waited until the third day. Running back Josh Jacobs, the first running back taken in 2019, was the obvious choice. As a first-round pick with potential to start in his first year, Jacobs will certainly experience more limelight than the average player. Jacobs’ multiple (3) College Football Playoff appearances may also help as well. In addition, due to Tua Tagovailoa and Trevor Lawrence not being in this draft, Jacobs could be one of the most marketable players from the College Football Playoff Championship in 2019. Speaking of the National Championship, the other Raiders’ player invited to the Premiere also played in the 2019 National Championship but in Clemson orange instead of Alabama crimson.
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Hunter Renfrow was the second Raiders’ rookie to be invited to the Premier. Renfrow was a nonfactor in the 2019 Championship game. However, he dominated Alabama in their back-to-back matchups in the CFP National Championship games in 2016 and 2017. By totaling 180 yards and four touchdowns in the two games, the slot wideout served notice. A four-year player from Clemson, Renfrow owns the talent to hold a job at the next level. Yet, how marketable is he?
To answer simply: Renfrow’s life story is one of the most marketable aspects in the Draft. A former walk-on with great character, Renfrow would emerge as an incredibly talented receiver. Renfrow would also win the Burlsworth Trophy, given to the best college player to start as a walk-on.
The talent and marketability are there for both Jacobs and Renfrow. Additionally, it is very exciting for a team to send two players to the Premiere. When determining marketability, one has to account for potential or promise for the player to hang around in the league. A player that will be swiftly bounced from the league is not marketable. As a result, Jacobs and Renfrow attending the Premiere shows that the NFLPA believes they will be mainstays.