Two Tigers have garnered more attention in the NFL. Arizona Cardinals running back Andre Ellington and Pittsburgh Steelers receiver Martavis Bryant were named to the first ever “Rising 50” list of Future Top Selling Stars by NFL Players Incorporated.
As the marketing and licensing arm of the NFL Players Association (NFLPA), the NFLPI is aimed at identifying sponsors, retailers, and future partners for the next crop of breakout NFL players who are poised for big years and rank among the top sellers of merchandise. The list highlights the 2014 season and includes popular veterans, emerging young stars, and highly touted college players entering the draft.
“NFLPI’s depth of knowledge about NFL players provides our business partners with some valuable sales and marketing insights, and the Rising 50 list is designed to be a unique resource they can use to plan for the upcoming season. We believe the list will stir up some healthy debate while becoming a useful tool for evaluation going forward.”
-Incoming NFLPI President Ahmad Nassar, nflpa.com
Ellington, who came in at No. 22, was a major factor in the Cardinals’ rushing offense in 2014 after splitting time as a rookie. Drafted in the sixth round (187th overall) in 2013, Ellington rushed for 660 yards and was on pace to break the 1,000 yard mark before injuries cut his season short. In his first two years, Ellington has rushed for 1,312 yards and six touchdowns and is figured to be a big part of the Cardinals’ ground game in 2015. The Cardinals finished 2014 with an 11-5 record.
Coming in at No. 40 on the list, Bryant, drafted in the fourth round (118th overall) in 2014, quickly established himself among the Steelers’ receiving corps as a dynamic deep threat opposite All-Pro receiver Antonio Brown. Despite missing his first six games, Bryant finished the year with 549 receiving yards and eight touchdowns. During that span, three of Bryant’s eight touchdown catches went for 41 yards or more. The Steelers also went on to finish 2014 with an 11-5 record.
The full Rising 50 list can be viewed here at the NFLPA website.
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