Fooch’s update: Or maybe not. There was a report last October the rule was being changed to allow anybody to participate by May 16th. I have not seen an official NFL announcement on it.
The San Francisco 49ers walked away from the 2018 NFL Draft with nine players, and will likely land just as many, if not more in undrafted free agency. The players will report later this week for rookie minicamp, and we’ll be off and running.
Minicamp will take place as the team’s offseason workout program rolls along. The team has two weeks under their belt, and OTAs are fast approaching. OTAs begin on May 21st, running until mandatory minicamp gets going on June 12th.
One question that always pops up following the draft is which players might be delayed in getting to OTAs. The NFL has a rule in place that prevents some non-graduates from immediately reporting to their team after rookie minicamp. All draft picks and UDFAs are allowed to take part in the post-draft rookie minicamp. However, if a player has not yet graduated, he cannot report to the ensuing regular offseason workout program until his university has completed their final exams.
Most schools are on the semester system, which means their final exams usually end the first or second week of May. However, there are several schools running on the quarter system, where final exams do not happen until early June. Last year, Solomon Thomas, Trent Taylor, and Kendrick Bourne all missed some portion of the offseason workout program because of the quarter system.
Among the 49ers draft picks this year, the only player this rule could impact is wide receiver Dante Pettis. He attended the University of Washington, which is on the quarter system. Their final exams are June 2nd to June 8th. The 49ers OTAs run through June 7th, and then they kick off minicamp on June 12th. That means Pettis would miss most but not all of the offseason workout program.
The rest of the 49ers draft class attended schools that run on the semester system. Some are wrapping up final exams right now, while a few will carry into the second week of May. None of them should miss OTAs because of final exams schedule.
One small note. Pettis spent four years at Washington. If he graduated in December, he would be eligible to join the offseason workout program immediately. If he does not graduate until June (or later), he will have to wait through finals.
I’ll provide an update as we learn more on this, but also as to how this impacts the 49ers potential undrafted free agent signings.