Gone are the days of the long holdout for NFL draft picks. Thanks to the NFL lockout, a new rookie salary system is in place, making it much easier to get the rookies under contract. The Arizona Cardinals have begun to get their draft picks under contract, announcing the signing of the final four selections the Cardinals made -- fifth round pick Stepfan Taylor (running back from Stanford), sixth round pick Ryan Swope (receiver from Texas A&M), sixth round pick Andre Ellington (running back from Clemson) and seventh round pick D.C. Jefferson (tight end from Rutgers.
All four were signed to four-year contracts.
All the rookies are in town right now, as they are all participating in the mandatory rookie minicamp that goes Friday through Sunday.
After that, these rookies will be able to participate in OTAs and minicamp, with the exception of Taylor, who may not join the team until Stanford's semester officially ends, which will not happen until June.
Here is what the team's press release says about each of the newest Arizona Cardinals under contract (and now with a signing bonus in the bank or on its way to the bank).
Taylor (5-9, 216) was a Doak Walker Award semifinalist as the nation's top running back in 2012 and was also named second-team All-Pac 12 after rushing for a career-high 1,530 yards and 13 touchdowns on 322 carries (4.8 yard avg.). Taylor established Stanford school records for career rushing yards (4,300 yards), total TD's (45), 100-yard rushing performances (21) and rushing attempts (843). His 40 career rushing touchdowns rank second in school history as do his 270 career points and he is the only player in Stanford history to rush for over 1,000 yards in three consecutive seasons (1,530 yards in 2012; 1,330 yards in 2011; 1,137 yards in 2010). A three-year starter, Taylor also had 97 receptions for 778 yards (8.0 yard avg.) and five touchdowns in his career.
Swope (6-0, 204) set Texas A&M school records with 252 receptions for 3,117 yards and 15 career 100-yard receiving games and finished second in school history with 24 career TD receptions. His best season came as a junior in 2011 when he set single-season school records with 89 catches for 1,207 yards (13.5 yard avg.) and also had 11 TDs. Last season, he caught 72 passes for 913 yards and eight TDs. The Austin, TX native played in 51 consecutive games at Texas A&M, only missing the first game of his true freshman season. At the 2013 NFL Combine, Swope ran the 40-yard dash in 4.34 seconds, tying for the second-best time of any player at the event.
Ellington (5-9, 199) was a consensus All-ACC first-team selection as a senior in 2012 after starting all 13 games for the second consecutive year and rushing for 1,081 yards and eight touchdowns on 212 carries (5.1 yard avg.). As a team captain in 2012, Ellington became just the fourth player in school history to rush for 1,000+ yards twice in their career (1,178 yards in 2011). His 1,491 all-purpose yards (1,081 rushing yards, 232 receiving yards and 178 kick return yards) last season rank 10th on the school's single season record list. He finished his career with 3,436 rushing yards on 621 carries (5.5 yard avg.) and 33 touchdowns to go along with 59 receptions for 505 yards and two touchdowns in 49 games (32 starts). On special teams, Ellington also had 26 kickoff returns for 642 yards (24.7 yard avg.) and one touchdown.
Jefferson (6-6, 255) began his collegiate career at Rutgers as a highly recruited quarterback before switching to tight end during his redshirt freshman year. As a senior, the Winter Haven, FL native started all 13 games and posted career highs with 20 receptions for 168 yards and one touchdown. A three-year starter, Jefferson started 43 of 50 career games at Rutgers and had 47 receptions for 560 yards and two touchdowns.