LA Rams: Do players really fit their positions this year?
Hey, has anyone noticed that the positional roles of the 2021 NFL Draft class seem to be all jumbled up? I mean, the LA Rams selected a 6-foot-3 220-pound receiver out of Notre Dame named Ben Skowronek who loves to block, and they are calling him a wide receiver. That in itself is confusing enough, but the same folks chose a 6-foot-5 219-pound receiver out of the University of Central Florida named Jacob Harris, and they are calling him a tight end, and he has not played the tight end position.
In some ways, it reminds me of a Friends episode, The One After “I Do”, where Ross Gellar wants to be seated at the table with an attractive young lady by the name of Mona, so he switches his table assignment, only to find that he botched the switch and must sit at the children’s table through the course of the wedding reception. The episode is that entertaining because the situation of an adult man being forced to dance with an endless stream of young girls was funny. Still, despite the assignment, Ross was not a child. He was just assigned to the wrong group. Sound familiar?
Did the LA Rams, in the hope of somehow slipping the freakishly athletic rookie Jacob Harris through roster cust and onto their 53-man roster, switch his positional label? While some describe the learning curve for the tight end position to be more difficult to master, the Rams appear to do well enough in both categories. So what is the reason?
An article by Antonio Losada from Rotoballer.com discussed the catch rate and drawn interference rates of NFL wide receivers and tight ends. On the graphic in his article, the LA Rams are favorably represented by tight end Tyler Higbee (great catch rate) and Cooper Kupp (great catch rate at higher volume). In that analysis, tight ends appear to do much better at pass catch rates, likely due to the fact that many do not draw the best defensive backs in coverage.
Are the Rams pulling a Ross Gellar, and switching names for Harris simply to set him up in football games with inferior coverage? Or do they see a niche, some specific characteristic in Harris that is best trained and exploited from the tight end room? Whatever the reasoning, it appears to be a sitcom in the making. A wide receiver with the mindset of blocking and hitting like a tight end, training with a tight end who is incredibly tall and fast like a wide receiver? Will it stick? Or will Harris eventually be called a wide receiver, and Skowronek eventually be called a tight end?