In 2021, the LA Rams were excited to add a very raw but very talented rookie receiver named Jacob Harris whose football background was a bit less than expected. While that created unexpected challenges for the Rams coaching staff as they scrambled to coach up the young man, it also created unanticipated opportunities.
Jacob Harris was, for lack of a better term, simply a collegiate athlete who arrive at the LA Rams as a blank slate. Since he was essentially a positionless athlete, the Rams had the opportunity to steer him into whatever role the coaches felt he could master quickly. That began his apprenticeship as a tight end in 2021.
As the season advanced, the Rams reconsidered their decision and determined that Jacob Harris was more of a wide receiver. But he fell to injury and did not make much of an offensive impact in the 2021 NFL season.
But Jacob Harris is back for another go at it, and he is already turning heads. But let’s contrast something for you. In 2021, Harris was highlighting in shorts and tee-shirts, making great catches in OTAs. But when the pads went on, he was clearly a bit raw.
LA Rams Roster: Jacob Harris sequel
This season, well, the 2022 preseason to be exact, when the pads went on, Jacob Harris started to show up. Not just for circus catches, but for true bona fide football plays. He served up pancakes in the Rams preseason contest against the Houston Texans.
Now, the buzz is back, and deservedly so.
Can Harris deliver to elevated expectations? Over time, I think so, yes. The Rams’ offense has clearly diversified from their singular receiver prototype. The team no longer emphasizes precision route running, creating separation, and a high catch rate. Now the team has included speedy receivers who can test the backend of the secondary, and receivers who can catch contested passes in traffic.
With Harris, the Rams add another dimension to their aerial arsenal. He gives the Rams an NFL equivalent of the NBA lob pass, which is also known as the alley-oop. Harris gives a tall target with great arm length who can get to a spot quickly. If he masters the fade route, he will be nearly unstoppable.
The knock against Harris so far was his lack of football skills. Now that he is demonstrating mastery of blocking, he could become a dangerous offensive weapon for the Rams this year.