The San Francisco 49ers added ten draft picks last weekend, and have nine more undrafted free agents joining the team. We'll get the first look at the entire group of rookies when they join the team for a rookie minicamp in two weeks. The NFL formally announced all 32 rookie minicamp start dates. 26 teams will get started this Friday, with the other six starting up May 15 and 16. The 49ers will run three days May 16, 17 and 18.
When the rookies arrive, there will be plenty more than the 19 picks and UDFAs. The team is only allowed 90 players on the roster, but they are also allowed to bring players into minicamp for "tryouts". A year ago, the rookie minicamp roster included 14 tryout candidates. Chase Thomas was part of that group, and was the only player to earn a training camp invite (and eventual roster spot).
The rookie minicamp is significant in part because it is the first time rookies are allowed to come to the team's facility for an extended period. We learned the details of this two years ago when Quinton Patton tried to come to the 49ers facility on his a few days after being drafted in the 2013 NFL Draft. Players can come to the facility in the 24-hour period after they are drafted, but after that they have to wait until rookie minicamp.
Fortunately some players go out of their way to figure out other ways to get a jump start on things. 49ers cornerback Chris Cook, who attended the University of Virginia, tweeted out this comment over the weekend regarding fellow 49er and Virginia football player Eli Harold.
The young bull @EliHarold_ is hungry ! Hit me up early this am trying to get a head start— Chip W. K. (@ChrisCook_22) May 3, 2015
This is the first chance to see the players in action, but for them, it is their first significant football activity in some time. Plenty had their Pro Days and the Combine, but the minicamp is a return to serious football action. It is the first chance to see where these guys are after four months of a certain amount of inactivity. Plenty busted their butts getting ready for the NFL Draft, but once Pro Days wrapped up, I imagine some might have slid a bit. I think two or three years ago, Jim Harbaugh commented on how the rookies in the minicamp seemed a bit out of shape and winded. That will be something to track this year.