Jacob Harris was considered a pure luxury pick when the Rams selected him in the fourth round this year. A varsity receiver moving on to tight end, Harris is a raw prospect with a rare combination of size, speed and jumping ability.
But it is possible that it is not as raw as it was initially believed. It wasn’t until June, but Harris has already won first-team reps in OTAs and minicamps, catching the attention of Sean McVay and Rams coaches. At 6 feet 5 inches and 219 pounds with a speed of 4.39, it’s hard to miss. But Harris impressed the Rams for all the right reasons.
After the final minicamp practice, McVay discussed Harris’s impact so far and explained why he had reps with the starters while Tyler Higbee was away.
“I think he just earned it,” McVay said of Harris. “Obviously Tyler is the lead dog. He did a great job. I think he’s one of the most complete tight ends in this league and when he’s feeling good Tyler Higbee can do anything for us. Jacob Harris is a great addition to this room. I think he’s a guy with a lot of potential. Wes Phillips did a good job upgrading it. “
McVay went on to point out Harris’ rare athletic traits and how he stood out in training circles, which is difficult for NFL players, especially rookies, to do. The coach knows it’s only June and the pads aren’t in place just yet, but no rookie has drawn more attention to the OTA Rams and minicamp than Harris.
– Los Angeles Rams (@RamsNFL) June 9, 2021
That’s at least a positive sign at the start of the tight end of the first year.
“His natural range, his catch radius, his body control for a player of his size are pretty rare,” McVay continued. “I think you can see, for the NFL guys to stand out like he did in some of those limited settings in shorts and helmets, he definitely made a positive impression. We all understand that it depends on when you put the pads on and how it really translates, but I think it’s because he deserved it and I was so happy with him. He’s smart, he’s conscientious, and he’s done a great job improving himself throughout.
Harris only has two years of wide receiver experience, catching 39 passes for 987 yards and nine 2019-20 touchdowns at UCF. He also started late in football, having mainly played football in high school. At 24, he was one of the oldest prospects in the draft, but he was also one of the most athletic.
His relative athletic score has ranked 12th out of 2,488 wide receiver hopes since 1987. So imagine where he would rank among the tight ends.
Jacob Harris is a WR prospect in the 2021 draft class. He had a possible 9.96 out of 10.00 RAS. This one ranked 12 out of 2,488 WR from 1987 to 2021.
– Kent Lee Platte (@MathBomb) April 1, 2021
McVay isn’t sure exactly where Harris will play, whether it’s as the tight end on the line, off roster, in the lunge, or away from the wide receiver. However, the more positions he can play, the more Los Angeles can create offensive shifts.
“I think it’s a little too early, but what I would say is I think the smart thing would be that if he could play in a variety of places, this would be how we can put the more pressure on people, ”McVay said. mentionned. “If he can play as a tied tight end, if he can play in the slot, if he can be detached widely, that’s the kind of skill he plans to have, but then again , until we really put the leggings on – because you look at what he was doing in college, he was basically lined up as a catcher. So being able to make that transition to the tight end and be attached to the core and do the different things that we ask in that place, there will be a learning curve. I think he’s handled it well so far, but we’ll have a real chance to assess this and allow that to come to life depending on how he’s handling it and I’m confident he’s doing it. will handle well.
The good thing about Harris’ transition to the tight end is that he has the athleticism to succeed as a big slot or wide receiver in the meantime. He will need to develop as a blocker in both running play and pass protection, but his size and speed allows him to make plays as a receiver.
He is naturally a player who gets a lot of fans excited and will be someone to watch closely during training camp and preseason.