For the last several seasons, the Pittsburgh Steelers seem to always have a draft pick or two that are forced to miss a few of, if not all of, the OTA sessions due to their schools graduation schedule. As it looks right now, Oregon State wide receiver Markus Wheaton will be the lone draft pick of the 2013 draft class that is in jeopardy of missing time, as NFL rules prohibit draft picks still in college to participate until their school has graduated it’s class.
Steelers general manager Kevin Colbert was a guest today on ESPN 970 Radio and host David Todd asked him if any of the draft picks would miss time this offseason due to their schools exam and graduation schedule.
“They can all come this weekend,” said Colbert. “When they return for the OTA\’s they will be bound by their college obligations first. The only draft pick that it affects would be Markus Wheaton. His graduation date is early in June and if he can show progress, or to the fact that he is on time, sometimes the school will allow him, they would say he satisfied his means. But usually they have to actually, if they are enrolled in school, or even if they\’re not enrolled in school, if their school is still in session, they can\’t report until after the last day of finals.”
Missing time last year because of their school being on the quarters system were guard David DeCastro and tackle Mike Adams, and now it appears that Wheaton is destined to miss OTA time as well. Oregon State is one of the few remaining colleges that uses the quarter system, and according to the school\’s website, finals take place from June 10–14 with graduation taking place on June 15.
The Steelers rookie camp takes place this coming weekend, and as Colbert indicated, Wheaton will be present for that. The Steelers three OTA sessions are scheduled for May 21-23, May 28-30 and June 3-6, so there is a good chance that Wheaton will miss all of those. The Steelers mandatory mini camp is scheduled for June 11-13 and Wheaton should be able to attend that.
Last year, both Adams and DeCastro were able to make the mandatory mini camp after missing all of the OTA sessions.