2017 Donruss Football Review

by J-Dub

Donruss Football 2017 hit shelves in early August and I am always eager to take a look at new football products. As opposed to baseball, Donruss has the NFL license and can produce team logos on cards. Donruss is one of my favorite sports card brands from the late 80’s, mainly because it was so prevalent in my area, so I still have a pull to the base Donruss product that releases each year. This year’s set brings a slight change to the design from 2016 but is still a sharp looking card.

As has become customary for Donruss, the set is loaded with shiny serial numbered parallels that include Stat Lines and Press Proof versions. There are additional die cut variations found in the Press Proof versions. The retro “Aqueous Test” insert is back in 2017 as well. A box break promises to hold a number of surprises for the collector. Autographs are available in approximately 20 different varieties of inserts while memorabilia cards come in 28 different versions. Both autographs and patches can be found numbered as low as 1/1. For a comprehensive look at the particulars, visit http://www.beckett.com/news/2017-donruss-football/ where Ryan Cracknell breaks down the entire set.

As mentioned above, I found my particular box at a local card show for $83. They can be found online anywhere from $79 – $90 currently. The box configuration is 24 packs with 10 cards per.

Base Cards

The base checklist is filled with current and retired stars from the NFL. The base design is a standard white border with horizontal stripes across the middle of the card. A twist this year is that the photo bleeds to the edge of the stripe design. The stripe is in one of the team colors providing a team specific look. The team name and logos are at the top of the card while the player name and Donruss logo are at the bottom.

1981 Design

Donruss brings back the 1981 design for football and includes a checklist of 35 players. There are also parallel versions of this design numbered to 100. Donruss included a gold touch with the year and team names. This is a sharp looking insert. There were 3 of these inserts in this box.


Dominator returns this year with a bright upgrade and boasts a checklist of 40 players. I pulled 4 of these inserts.


Elite is one of my all-time favorite inserts, dating back to the card chase of 1991. This year’s version does not disappoint! This is a very bright and shiny insert and is a little thicker card stock than the rest of the set. I pulled 3 veteran Elites and 2 Rookie Elites. I will be looking to complete this insert set before the year is out. This set also has an autograph version as well!

Gridiron Kings

The football version of “Diamond Kings”, this insert is presented in the form of All-Time GK, Rookie GK, and the base GK. The design is sharp and the card stock bears the resemblance of canvas. The box held 5 of these beauties.


The highlight insert is a basic looking card that features a player and highlight from the previous season. There was only one in this box but this insert didn’t excite me very much.

Legends of the Fall

This is another set I look forward to each year. This 26 card insert set includes Legends from the NFL in a Gridiron Kings’esque design. I am a sucker for cards with an art design look.

Production Line

This is one of the more underwhelming inserts for me. There isn’t a lot of flash to these cards and they don’t feel very special.

The Rookies

I pulled 2 of these insert cards and they are very good looking cards with rookies in an action shot wearing their pro uniforms and numbers.

Salute To Service

This 20 card insert set features 20 players that were nominated by their teams for the Salute to Service Award. The design is a clean Red, White and Blue with a background of camouflage. I found it to be a classy looking insert.

Team Heroes

Another 20 card set, this insert features great players from particular teams; both past and present.

Top Targets

This is another insert set that I found to be unnecessary like the Production Line. The design isn’t bad but there just anything special about these cards to me.

Up Tempo

The final insert card I pulled in this box was the “Up Tempo” series and features 20 current studs from the NFL. The checklist is strong but the insert set is not in the top 5 for me.

The Hits

This Roger Staubach All-Time Gridiron King was numbered 28/100.

These parallels are really beautiful and 4 of them are numbered below 100. The Jordan Howard is numbered to 24 (Jersey Parallel) and the Steve Smith Sr. is numbered to 25.

The memorabilia card in this box was a strong one that featured Carson Wentz and is numbered to 99.

The autograph is a “Rookie Phenom” Dede Westbrook numbered to 99. I was very pleased with this hit. Neither of the patches had multiple colors and the autograph is on a sticker so this is where the price of the box comes into play.

Overall, I enjoyed the box rip and will probably try to build the 2017 Donruss set over time. I will focus primarily on the base set, Legend Series, and Elite Series. I can see myself picking up multiple packs on a trip to the LCS and maybe another box or two over the season as long as they remain near the price they are now.

What are your thoughts on 2017 Donruss Football?

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  1. I opened a blaster box of this recently. It contained 11 rookies, 1 Rookie Phenom of Dede Westbrook without an autograph, and a Season Star Line for Calvin Johnson. I did get 3 Titans cards including Eddie George, but was hoping for a better bang for my $20.