The 2022 NFL Draft is in the books, and now the newly drafted players can start working with their new coaches. With rookie minicamps starting immediately after the draft, let’s take a look at the latest news, dates, and where the NFL franchises hold their rookie minicamps.
It may be the NFL offseason, but that doesn’t mean things stop for players and coaches around the league. To stay up to date, be sure to check out the timetable for OTAs in 2022.
When are the 2022 NFL rookie minicamps?
The 2022 NFL rookie minicamps dates are between May 6-9 or May 13-15. Each NFL team can choose one of those weeks to hold their rookie minicamps.
May 6-9: Baltimore Ravens (7-9), Chicago Bears (6-8), Green Bay Packers (6-7), Kansas City Chiefs (7-9), New York Jets (6-8), Philadelphia Eagles (6-7) , Seattle Seahawks (6-8), Washington Commanders (6-7)
May 13-15: Arizona Cardinals, Atlanta Falcons, Buffalo Bills (13-14), Carolina Panthers, Cincinnati Bengals (May 13), Cleveland Browns, Dallas Cowboys, Denver Broncos (13-14), Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, Indianapolis Colts, Jacksonville Jaguars, Las Vegas Raiders, Los Angeles Chargers (13-14), Los Angeles Rams, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Giants, Pittsburgh Steelers, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Tennessee Titans
Who will be attending NFL rookie minicamps?
The main focus of the rookie minicamps is to get the newly drafted players together and integrate them into their new team’s system. The majority of those rookies were either drafted during the 2022 NFL Draft or signed as Undrafted Free Agents (UDFA).
However, in addition to the drafted players and UDFAs, there are also “try-out” players. Some of these are other UDFAs who the team did not immediately sign but wanted to bring into their rookie minicamp and see how they fit. There are also some veterans who are also competing for a shot to make the roster. In recent years, the number of “try-out” players has been severely restricted due to COVID-19.
Where are the 2022 rookie minicamps being held?
The NFL teams usually keep it pretty relaxed for their rookie minicamps. As these events usually take place over a couple of days, they will often be held at one of the team’s facilities. This is in contrast to the full training camp, where some teams will take their team outside their facilities in order to train at an external site.
What should be expected from minicamps?
Rookie minicamps can often fly under the radar for fanbases. However, these are valuable opportunities for coaches to work with new players and see if they could compete to contribute immediately. These camps were canceled in 2020, and the Buccaneers’ head coach, Bruce Arians, estimated those rookies lost around 400 reps. That reduced the opportunity for those young players to earn roster spots or playing time.
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The return of “try-out” players adds to the level of value. Now the teams can see how their young players compare to some free agent options available on the open market. This can help them decide where those rookies are in their progression. It could also allow a team to unearth a quality player who has slipped through the net.
Rookie minicamps bring a mix of classroom and on-field work
What makes rookie minicamps so valuable is that players can get meaningful insight into the team they were drafted by. This often starts in the classroom, where rookies can watch film and learn crucial elements from the team’s coaching staff. The classroom element can be replicated in virtual sessions. Still, as anyone who has experienced home working / learning in the last 12 months can attest, it is hard to replace the experience of in-person education.
Once rookies complete film sessions, they head out onto the field. Outside, the coaching staff puts them through their paces. On-field practices are an opportunity for a player to demonstrate what those coaches have seen on film.
It is also a chance to start dispelling any negatives that surrounded them entering the draft. For example, an excellent way to prove you do not have issues with drops is to catch every pass thrown your way in front of your coaches.
Rookie minicamps are voluntary. Players can choose not to attend, but it is rare to see a young player to skip. Even injured players will often report to their minicamp for at least the classroom sessions.
Rookie minicamps can see NFL prospects’ dreams be over before they begin
There are pros and cons of the rookie minicamps for players. For those looking to earn roster spots, they can leave an initial impression in the minds of their coaches. For the UDFAs and “try-out” players, the potential opportunity to make an impact and earn a roster spot is invaluable.
However, for the drafted players, there are arguably more risks than rewards. A bad day for a Day 1 or 2 selection will not be the end of their time with the team. However, it can leave them on the back foot heading into the next stage of the offseason. Meanwhile, any good impression they leave could be fleeting. Ultimately, to earn a roster spot or a starting role, how rookies fare against veterans already on the team will be telling.
Of course, a good performance cannot be overrated. The rise of Russell Wilson to be a Week 1 rookie starter for the Seahawks started because of a good rookie minicamp performance. However, the uplifting stories like that are often outweighed by the stories of players whose careers were almost over before they began because of the struggles in these rookie minicamps.
For the Day 3, UDFA, and “try-out” players, the stakes are higher. Teams have invested little in the way of guaranteed capital in these players, and if they struggle, they could find themselves having to go and fight for a roster spot elsewhere in the league.
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