The LA Rams offense was on the field, and the called play involved the LA Rams running an under route to WR/TE Jacob Harris to coincide with an over route to WR Lance McCutcheon. The Houston Texans, to counter, had many of their best defensive players late into the second preseason game.
To their defense (pun intended), the Texans are in the early stages of rebuilding their roster, adding large numbers of young players, and attempting to learn a new playbook under new head coach Lovie Smith. This is a team that is looking for success anywhere they can find it, whether it’s a preseason game, a college football field, or a pickup game at the playground down the street.
But Jacob Harris was having none of that, as he pancaked a free pass rusher, defensive end Demone Harris, clearing the way for a smooth completion to McCutcheon.
And at that moment, Harris checked a box. In the game, he hauled in four of the seven passes thrown his way for 24 yards, good enough for only a 57.4 catch rate. Not much to write home about. In fact, it all sounds a bit anti-climactic, doesn’t it? Well, it’s a bigger deal than all that.
Rams News: Harris levels up
The LA Rams were enamored with the raw athleticism of Jacob Harris in the 2021 NFL Draft. After all, he is a 6-foot-5 receiver, runs a blazing fast 4.39-second 40-yard dash, and has all of the makings of an incredible NFL player . . . someday. But he arrived in the NFL as a virtual blank slate, as his football experience was almost non-existent.
It was that blank slate that is both so promising and so challenging for the Rams. So promising in that the LA Rams can mold Harris into their vision of what an NFL superstar should look like, and the team has their brilliant head coach in Sean McVay to envision what that offensive doomsday weapon might look like. So far, the Rams have been aiming at a tight end-wide receiver hybrid, an offensive form of swiss army knife that defies traditional categories. Much like Cooper Kupp, but taller and faster.
So challenging in that the young man has so much to learn. And his rookie season with the Rams coaching staff did little more than earn him a role on the Rams special teams. He trained with tight ends, in an attempt to learn how to block and gain position on defenders who were bigger and quite likely stronger.
But this year, we are seeing more than a guy who can run fast and tackle. In the second preseason game of 2022, he clearly pancaked a defensive end with such authority that it’s clear that he is picking up the need to block as a Rams receiver. Blocking is the difference between getting playing time as a receiver in the Rams’ offense. Will Harris make the 53-man roster this year?
While I don’t know the answer to that question, I can say this much. He’s in a much better position to do so now.