Thanks to an obscure NFL rule, Cardinals rookie running back Stepfan Taylor will miss almost all of the team’s organized team activities in the coming month.
Taylor, the team’s fifth-round pick out of Stanford, will take part in the team’s rookie minicamp this weekend, but a rule prohibits rookies from taking part in any other team activities until their school has completed its final exams — and that’s regardless of whether or not the player is still enrolled in school. Stanford does not finish its exams until June 12.
Following the Cardinals’ rookie minicamp, the team has 10 days of voluntary OTAs — spread out over a period of about four weeks — involving both rookies and veterans, culminating in a three-day minicamp from June 11-13. Due to the aforementioned exam schedule, Taylor won’t be able to participate in any of those practices until the final day, significantly limiting his opportunities to integrate with the offense and the team as a whole.
While some of the team’s other draft picks will have similar issues, according to the team’s official website, none of those cause conflicts with more than a couple days of workouts.
Stanford players have dealt with the issue before; Andrew Luck, last year’s No. 1 overall pick by the Colts, missed all of OTAs before completing his degree but was able to join the team for its three-day minicamp in mid-June.
There is some depth at running back, as the Cardinals are expected to start Rashard Mendenhall, who played six games last year after recovering from a torn ACL, and also have Ryan Williams, a 2011 second-round pick who has missed all but four games in his first two seasons due to knee and shoulder injuries. Both are expected to participate fully in workouts.