Show me where the dirty work is on the gridiron and I'll show you where you can find Cory Harkey.
During the 2014 season, he was one of three Rams to have a positive run-blocking grade according to Pro Football Focus. He was a leader among special teams players and the majority of his receptions (five of eight total) were for first downs.
This man will do whatever is asked of him.
While he is listed as a TE, Harkey will fill more of a lead blocker role as Jeff Fisher continues to push the needle towards a power running game. Coming up with a specific player for competition is tough because of his versatility and the clearly defined roles among the Rams' tight ends.
The Rams three-headed TE attack is pretty easy to predict. When the Rams are in a passing situation, Jared Cook and Lance Kendricks will be on the field. When the Rams find themselves needing to pound the rock, Harkey will replace Cook.
I don't expect him to be Lorenzo Neal or Bronco Nagurski, but Harkey needs to be a bulldozer this year if the Rams are going to be successful. The OL is a work in progress, and Harkey will be frequently asked to be a lead blocker in this offense.
Harkey gives the offensive staff - mainly Rams Offensive Coordinator Frank Cignetti and Offensive Line Coach Paul Boudreau - a lot of flexibility. His size (6'4", 260) will enable 'Cig' to beef up a personnel group while still providing some receiving potential. His blocking ability will provide Boudreau a safety valve of sorts in protection schemes - again without losing much in the way of receiving potential.
Chances of Making Final Roster (10/10)
While you may look at a TE with 22 career receptions as somewhat of a fringe player, Harkey is far from that on this Rams squad. He is an essential cog that will be out there paving the way for the stable of RBs that Jeff Fisher and Les Snead have accumulated.