With Tyler Higbee not practicing, rookie tight end Jacob Harris has seen first-team reps during OTAs. The Rams' coaching staff has been impressed by the fifth-round pick, who has proven he can move around the field and serve as a true mismatch headache for other teams. In addition to being a tall and agile pass-catcher, Harris is expected to have a major role on special teams. When commenting on the rookie, head coach Sean McVay said, "I think he’s a guy that has a tremendous amount of upside. Wes Phillips has done a really nice job of getting him up to speed. His natural range, catch radius, body control for a player of his size is pretty rare. I think you guys can see — for NFL guys to stand out the way that he has done, in some of these limited settings, in shorts and in helmets, he’s definitely made a positive impression." (The Athletic)
McVay isn't the only Rams coach excited about Harris. Rams scout Michael Pierce, who first tipped the team on potentially drafting Harris, said, "If you think that he can be a tight end—which, I think he can be a tight end—then you say, ‘Let him develop, and he’ll win a spot at tight end because he’s so athletic, so fast, he can jump so high and he has that determination that you want out of the position. But then you think, ‘OK, he can be a receiver,’ because he’s got that top-shelf speed, he can really get to the top of coverage, he can jump and attack the ball." There is also a data side to the hype surrounding Harris. “I have done some studies over the past few years, looking at positions where, in those later rounds, what is going to give you the most success?” explained Sarah Bailey, a football analytics manager. “Tight end is one of those positions where the athlete has more probability of actually making it. I look at probability of playing, and when he switched his position from wideout to tight end, he actually increased his probability of playing by almost 20 percent." Ultimately, the stars are all aligning for Harris. Offseason coachspeak should be taken cautiously and Harris may not be an immediate breakout candidate, but he's still an intriguing stash regardless.