While Sean McVay and the Los Angeles Rams offense have been rightfully excited to welcome Matthew Stafford in to replace Jared Goff, one of the potential thorns in the side of LA’s offense is the departing talent that will leave yards on the field for the Rams’ offense.
Both Josh Reynolds (618 receiving yards in 2020) and tight end Gerald Everett (417 yards) packed their bags out of Inglewood and may leave a depleted arsenal for Stafford should Robert Woods continue to see a decline in production on display since 2018, or Cooper Kupp miss any time.
What Kind of Impact Will Rookie Tight End Jacob Harris Have For The Rams?
The 2021 draft was an interesting play for Les Snead and the Rams, who brought in a receiver in the second round and tight end out of UCF Jacob Harris in the fourth.
With Tyler Higbee now leading the tight end position for the Los Angeles Rams, rookie Jacob Harris walks in with impressive speed to add versatility to the position after losing a key component in the offseason. Harris’ likelihood as an X-factor for this offense in just his rookie year is a long shot. McVay and the coaching staff are more likely to lean into rookie Tutu Atwell’s inclusion in the offense. With a shell of DeSean Jackson left and 29-year-old Robert Woods on his slight decline, Atwell will be primed to be a primary target for Stafford and the Rams going forward. With sophomore receiver Van Jefferson also a concurrent development at receiver to add in this arsenal.
Jacob Harris walks in at a VERY light frame for an NFL tight end, weighing 218 pounds which puts him in the Julio Jones, Davante Adams spectrum of bulk. For reference, Everett and Higbee are both in the 240s.
While Harris’ weight leaves some qualities to be desired, the tight end has amassed a reputation for displaying freakish athletic talent. Some fans wonder if the tight end physical attributes would allow him to split off as a receiver after flashing a 4.39 40-time and 40.5-inch vertical.
The team previously utilized a tandem of Gerald Everett and Tyler Higbee to make for one of the best duos in football. After losing Everett to the Seattle Seahawks, Higbee will take on the bulk of receiving for McVay’s 12 personnel, two-tight end packages.
In the two last two seasons with the Rams, Higbee has amassed 1,255 yards and eight touchdowns. According to PFF, Higbee was the 18th best player for the position. With Stafford’s addition to the offense after two lukewarm years from Goff, Higbee’s potential as a low end-TE1 is only getting higher.
What Harris presents in terms of potential for the Rams offense is a prospect. Or project, as many analysts dub players with a surplus in either physical or mental attributes, an uneven teetering rather than balance. Harris presents upside due to his physical abilities, but his limitations with dropping catches and no potential for blocking leave him as a darkhorse for the Rams’ offense should he see time on the field over Johnny Mundt or Brycen Hopkins.
The good news remains that the locker room will welcome a physical beast of a player, with a good determination to start winning now — pretty on point with the Rams’ mission this upcoming season.