When I heard that 2017 Donruss Certified Cuts was about to be released, I got pretty excited about the possibilities. The product promises 4 hits per box with 2 autographs on average and the autograph checklist is unlike many others you’ll find on the market today. Some lucky collectors will have the good fortune of pulling a John F. Kennedy or Thomas Jefferson from the set. The “Cut Signature” has its fans and detractors but if you’re looking for an old historical figure, it is the only way you are going to find them. Where this set differs from others is that even current players are found in a “Cut” style autographed card. I was excited and intrigued but also skeptical at the same time.

The product boasts a 200 card base checklist with base Veterans found at #’s 1-100, Legends at #’s 101-150 and Rookies closing it out at #’s 151-200. The base veterans include Zeke, OBJ, Todd Gurley, Aaron Rodgers, Tom Brady, Matt Ryan and more of today’s superstars. Though there are a few names that feel out of place like Cody Kessler and Kenneth Dixon, the checklist doesn’t have very many non-starters. There are more good players missing from the checklist than bad players included. Some of the notable names not featured include Golden Tate, DeMaryius Thomas, Emmanuel Sanders, Doug Martin and Michael Crabtree. There were very few defensive players included in the base set as well.

The Legends checklist has some huge names and totally overshadows the Veteran set. There are names like Jerry Rice, Jim Brown, Walter Payton, Barry Sanders, Joe Greene, Emmitt Smith, Deion Sanders and many, many more. This portion of the checklist even goes back to players like Red Grange. As a collector of retired players and a fan of Panini Classics, this part of the checklist speaks to me. The only complaint I have about this group is that some of the jersey’s chosen for the players don’t match up for me. Warren Moon in a Vikings jersey and Marcus Allen in a Chiefs jersey are prime examples. There aren’t many of those but that is one issue I can pinpoint in the Legends.

The Rookies include some very solid prospects but also some duds. Some of the rookies included for certain teams aren’t even the best rookie on that team. Brad Kaaya is included for the Lions instead of Kenny Golladay, Tarik Cohen for the Bears instead of Trubisky and Zach Cunningham for the Texans instead of DeShaun Watson. Granted, these are just base cards and some of the bigger names are included in the autograph section but some people enjoy the base card as well. Cards 151-200 also come in an autographed version, though the autographs are on stickers. We’ll save the sticker vs. on card autograph debate for another day.

The autographs are where the action is in Certified Cuts. Not only can you pull rookie autographs of players like Aaron Jones and Tarik Cohen in the sticker version; you can also pull “Cut” signatures of players like Watson, Trubisky, DeShone Kizer, Patrick Mahomes, Leonard Fournette, Dalvin Cook and Kareem Hunt. These are pretty good looking cards and the cut signatures are “on card” to an extent. There are also “Modern Cuts” that include veterans like Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Ryan, Carson Wentz, David Carr, and Andrew Luck. If retired players are your favorite, then there are autographs there as well. Players like Brett Favre, Jerome Bettis, Thurman Thomas, Troy Aikman, Dan Marino and Barry Sanders can be found among the superstars in this group. Like I said, the autographs are where the focus is with Certified Cuts.
More Cut Autographs (Select Players Listed)

Legendary Cuts – Otto Graham, Sammy Baugh, Johnny Unitas, Red Grange, Tom Landry, Merlin Olsen, Bronko Nagurski, Paul Brown, Walter Payton and more.

Cinematic Cuts – John Wayne, Leonard Nimoy, Lucille Ball, Richard Burton and Jimmy Stewart.

Collegiate Cuts – Knute Rockne, Pop Warner, Bear Bryant and more.

Historical Cuts – Douglas McArthur, Dwight D. Eisenhower, Thomas Jefferson, John F. Kennedy and Ronald Reagan.

Cut Memorabilia Booklets – Unitas, Landry, Payton, Junior Seau, Reggie White, Derrick Thomas and more.

Dual Cuts Booklets – Barbara and George H.W. Bush, Art Rooney and Chuck Noll, George Halas and Walter Payton, John Madden and Pat Summerall and more.

There are also several other memorabilia and insert checklists to peruse when you have the time. The set is loaded with special inserts but they are all as scarce as short prints and not easy to find. A hobby box contains 12 packs with 4 cards per pack. The box I opened contained 4 insert cards and only 1 parallel. I did get lucky with 2 cut signatures and 2 patches as opposed to 1 cut and 1 sticker. The two patches I received were rather bland but I was happy with the players. Let’s take a look at some of the cards from the box I ripped.

Carson Wentz – As you can see, the cards are full bleed with only a bottom border and the photos are pretty clear. All of the cards featured some nice action shots.

Aaron Rodgers

Trevor Semien – I actually really like this color rush jersey.

Travis Kelce

Peyton Manning Legends #396/399

Eric Dickerson Legends #58/99 – This was the parallel mentioned above.

Brian Hill RC #20/399 – This was the lone non-insert RC in the box.

Julius Peppers – Canton Bound

Steve Largent – Heritage Collection – This is a very classy insert card!

Le’Veon Bell – Highlight Reels – The detail is great on this card as you can make out the snowfall.

John Ross III – Great Expectations

Jordan Howard – Modern Day Heroes Memorabilia

Andy Dalton – Modern Day Heroes Memorabilia

Jamal Williams – Rookie Cuts #14/299

Marlon Mack – Rookie Cuts #15/99 – I love this pink parallel!

When all was said and done, I was fairly pleased with the break. I have high hopes for Marlon Mack and love that auto. I would have liked to pull a Legends Cut, even if it wasn’t a superstar but at least I didn’t get a base sticker auto. The prize of this set is a rare card numbered 1/1 and is the first certified autograph of this player ever placed in a set. That prize is Pat Tillman and will likely have collectors buying and ripping in hopes of owning that piece of history. My final word on the set is that it is good but not great. The price holds it back a little as it is currently in the $130 range and there are very limited parallels and rookies in the box. The price is driven by the possibilities though and I will probably take one more swing at a box at some point. What say you?



9 Pocket Page Page: 8-1/4 x 11-3/8″; Pockets: 2-5/8 x 3-5/8″. Holds current trading cards, sketch cards and artist trading cards. Ultra-Pro brand. Made from 5-gauge polypropylene. For use in 3-ring binders. Top-loading.