You get the big guy
Simply stated, most of his scholastic athletics was involved in soccer, and he did not switch to football until 2017 when he was a walk-on with the UCF scout team. He finally earned a football scholarship in 2018 as a special teamer. He didn’t even take the field on the offense as a receiver until 2019 and he played just two seasons at the position. His NCAA career totaled 49 catches for 987 yards and nine touchdowns. Not much history there, eh?
And yet, there was an uncanny date with destiny. You see, Calvin Johnson retired in the prime of his career, leaving Matthew Stafford without his favorite big target. But Stafford was heading to the Rams now, and he was on an intercept course with the 6-foot-5 rookie receiver out of UCF.
And in that one moment in the 2021 NFL Draft, with the 141st pick, the LA Rams restored a 6-foot-5 athletic freak target to Matthew Stafford’s arsenal.
What position is an athletic freak?
Now, one of the first problems for the LA Rams was how to categorize him in their offense? As a wide receiver, he lines up outside, and will primarily face defensive backs in pass coverage. As an LA Rams receiver, he will be responsible to know the entire route tree, know who and how to block on screens, jet sweeps, and a host of other details that mean little to the viewing fan, but are make or break assignments and responsibilities.
Instead, the LA Rams opted to onboard him as a tight end. In that role, he will have a smaller set of routes to learn, and will likely line up against a slot cornerback, safety, or even a linebacker. However, a tight end in the Rams offense does have a significantly greater role at chip blocking, and sometimes even a full square up on an edge rusher or blitzing defender. In terms of immediate mismatches, the Rams opted to align Harris with the tight end group.