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Drew's Deep Dive: 2022 Donruss Optic Football

Updated: Jun 25, 2023

Drews Deep Dive: 2022 Donruss Optic Football

Welcome to the debut of the Deep Dive! While most of the hobby has changed in some way over the past few years, the excitement surrounding new releases has only grown stronger. With every new release comes new designs, parallels & (of course) rookies to chase or add to your collection. In this new series, we’ll be taking a deep dive into the latest upcoming football releases. The good, the bad, and yes, the ugly,

For our inaugural edition of Drews Deep Dive, we’re going with a staple in the Panini America catalog, 2022 Donruss Optic Football. Despite being around less than a decade, Optic football almost immediately grabbed collectors attention upon inception, and gaining a reputation as one of the most premium, in-demand card *releases on the football calendar. The ‘22 Release looks to continue that trend.


At its core, Optic was created as a Chromium version of their “flagship product”, Donruss, ala Topps/Topps Chrome. The checklist remains the same layout as previous iterations, with a 300 card base set, with 200 veterans and 100 of the legendary Rated Rookies. Unlike previous years however, the Top 50 Rookies don’t get their own special design, instead blending in with the base set. The specialty designs were a major part of the Rated Rookie brand, producing countless iconic designs throughout the years. It’s a shame we don’t get that in 2022. But, being a chromium product, one thing we will get will be PARALLELS! And LOTS of them!

If youre looking to build that rainbow this year, be prepared to go on quite the journey. As of this writing, only the regular hobby parallels have been released, which is a staggering 17 parallels! This isn't including any retail, no huddle, white sparkle/specialty releases either, which will balloon the total # of parallels to 30+. New parallels coming to ‘22 Optic include the awesome looking Jazz, Rocket & Electricity (/65).

On the Autograph side, Optic includes one of the most iconic rookie autographs for first year players with the Rated Rookie autograph line. And unlike Prizm, Optic autographs (from the Top Prospects) are ON-CARD! Base autographs will be numbered to /150 or less, with plenty of parallels for collectors to chase as well, down to the 1/1. These autographs in particular carry strong value in the football hobby. In addition to the Rated Rookie Autograph line, Rookies also have the Optic RPA’s, #’d 25 or less, Additional autographs can be found in Legendary Patch Autographs, bringing in some awesome Legends/veterans into the mix. Relics should arrive in most retail options as usual.

Beyond the colors and the ink, Optic boasts some excellent inserts & SSP/Case Hits that just add more value to the product. The iconic Downtown SSP Returns, but are far from the only SSP’s in ‘22 Optic. The Mythical insert returns, this time as an SSP, along with Rookie Gridiron Kings, that, per Panini, “features unique photography from some of the games biggest rookies”. Newcomer Blazers rounds out the SSP’s.

Box Breakdown:

(Basic hobby breakdown)

Price: $500/Box (exact price TBA)


•Rated Rookie Autographs: Simply Iconic. Carry insane value in the hobby.

•Great inserts & SSP’s to help drive the product, outside of just autographs.

•The Chromium stock makes the design pop, especially the parallels.


•Base Design/Rated Rookie design feels uninspired

•Too many parallels across all product SKU’s.

•Running a fine line on the amount of SSP’s in one set.

•The Downtowns once again feature the Laser Holo finish, a touch that feels excessive & takes away from the beautiful artwork Downtowns are known for.

RATING: 3.5 out of 5 Stars


Although it’s a chromium version of a flagship product, Optic still finds a way to feel like it’s own unique product. While the base design definitely needs a complete overhaul, the parallels and chromium stock really make the cards pop compared to its flagship counterpart. But it’s the on-card autographs that really put Optic over the top. The Rated Rookie autograph line is iconic, and will be a major chase right out of the gate. This years price point feels a little high, with pre-sales right around $500. Expect that to drop significantly once the product is released, although the potential value/ROI in ’22 Optic is massive. So while Optic does have much room for improvement, this years release looks like it’s going to be yet another winner in Panini’s catalog.


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