NFLPA Predicts Rising Stars of Consumer Product Sales

Annual Rising Stars List provides partners with insights to plan marketing campaigns, social media activations, player-driven content, brand ambassadors and product lines featuring a wider variety of players




Washington, DC (June 7, 2022) – Kenny Pickett, Chris Olave, Trevon Diggs and Hunter Renfrow are among the rookie and veteran players projected to drive retail sales of officially licensed NFLPA player product on the 2022 NFLPA Rising Stars list.

Compiled each year by NFL Players Inc., the marketing and licensing business of the NFLPA, the list identifies 10 rookies and 10 veteran players poised to have an instant impact on consumer sales and ultimately rank on the NFLPA Top 50 Players Sales lists in the new season.

The NFLPA strives to provide partners with a depth of player knowledge they can’t get anywhere else. Through early identification of players on the list, the NFLPA provides partners (licensees, retailers and sponsors) with insights to plan marketing campaigns, social media activations, player-driven content, brand ambassadors and product lines featuring a wider variety of players.

A total of 69 players have climbed from Rising Stars to the NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales lists since 2015, including a record 13 this past year. Among those who ascended from “Rising Star” to a top player in licensed product sales were Mac Jones and Justin Fields, who finished No. 5 and No. 8, respectively, at year end.

“The magic of this list is that it pulls from a variety of data including player sales, fan bases, social media engagement and even fantasy football popularity,” said Steve Scebelo, President of NFL Players Inc. “Combined with their diverse personalities and exciting on-field performances, we forecast players best positioned to move the needle for products and marketing in the upcoming season.”

The rankings evaluate factors for sales popularity, including: on-field performance, early demand from NFLPA partners for content and marketing, fantasy league status, social media engagement, product submissions from 80+ NFLPA licensees, team fanbases and new faces in strong markets. To be considered for the Rising Stars, veteran players must not have appeared on any previous quarterly or year-end NFLPA Top 50 Player Sales List, the only verified rankings of all officially licensed product from retailers.

The following rookies are forecast to break through in NFL player product sales:

  1. Kenny Pickett, QB – Pittsburgh Steelers
  2. Drake London, WR – Atlanta Falcons
  3. Ahmad “Sauce” Gardner, CB – New York Jets
  4. Aidan Hutchinson, DE – Detroit Lions
  5. Garrett Wilson, WR – New York Jets
  6. Chris Olave, WR – New Orleans Saints
  7. Kayvon Thibodeaux, DE – New York Giants
  8. Kenneth Walker III, RB – Seattle Seahawks
  9. Desmond Ridder, QB – Atlanta Falcons
  10. Malik Willis, QB – Tennessee Titans

The following popular veteran players are projected to continue driving the sports licensed business this upcoming season:

  1. Trevon Diggs, CB – Dallas Cowboys
  2. A.J. Brown, WR – Philadelphia Eagles
  3. Hunter Renfrow, WR – Las Vegas Raiders
  4. Cam Akers, RB – Los Angeles Rams
  5. Javonte Williams, RB – Denver Broncos
  6. Travis Etienne, RB – Jacksonville Jaguars
  7. D’Andre Swift, RB – Detroit Lions
  8. AJ Dillon, RB – Green Bay Packers
  9. Michael Pittman, WR – Indianapolis Colts
  10. Rashod Bateman, WR - Baltimore Ravens