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Top rookies strike a pose at annual premiere weekend

LOS ANGELES -- NFL PLAYERS held its annual trading card photo shoot at the Los Angeles Coliseum on Saturday, hosting some of the top talent from the 2008 NFL rookie class as part of its rookie premiere weekend.

As part of a four-day event showcasing the 2008 rookie class, the rookie premiere photo shoot allowed the players to don their official NFL jerseys for the first time.

"It's really fun for us," said former USC quarterback John David Booty, sporting his Minnesota Vikings purple No. 4 jersey. "Kids are going to see us like we saw all those guys who came before us on cards. This is really a great experience for us."

Ten first-round picks were among the 34 players on hand for the shoot, including top-ten picks Jake Long, Matt Ryan, Darren McFadden and Glenn Dorsey. The roster also included 14 second-round picks, nine third-round selections and one fifth-round choice.

In addition to providing trading card companies Donruss Playoff and Upper Deck the opportunity to photograph the rookies for the first time in their jerseys, the rookie premiere, in its 12th year, held a youth football clinic as part of the weekend's events.

For many of the rookies, the prospect of having their own football card brought the realities of being a professional player into focus.

"First of all, it's an honor to be on a card," said top overall pick Long, wearing a teal Miami Dolphins No. 77. "It shows that you made it. If you want to make the best card, they keep on telling you to show the most effort. If you do well out here, you get the best card.

"It's a long day, but if you make it fun its going to be fun.

"It's crazy," said Tampa Bay receiver Dexter Jackson. "Just awhile ago we were in college uniforms, now we're in NFL uniforms. We're all happy to be here. It kind of sinks in when we're all together, seeing us all in different uniforms."

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