The Rams made a point to re-sign G/C Austin Blythe this off-season after being an integral part of the team’s offensive line over the last three seasons. In 2019 however, Blythe played a little more center than usual as he had to step in for an injured Brian Allen. In 2020, the Rams hope they’ll get a healthy Allen back which would allow Blythe to get back to guard which would go a long way in normalizing the front five.
In the case of a similar situation should Allen miss more time, it looks like the Rams are doing their due diligence on this year’s center class as they recently met with former Washington center Nick Harris, per Justin Melo of The Draft Wire.
Like Allen, Harris is a little on the shorter side, standing at 6’1 and 302 pounds. Despite his lack of size, that hasn’t stopped him from being the best center in the Pac-12 conference over the last two seasons. After starting four games as a true freshman (two at either guard spot), Harris went on to start the final 26 games of his career and to twice be named to the First-Team All-Pac-12 squad.
NFL Network’s Lance Zierlein describes Harris as a “worker bee”, meaning he doesn’t do or say much outside of what he needs to in order to get the job done. He’s some of the quickest hands and doesn’t waste a nano-second when it comes to snapping and get his punch into a defender. The biggest limitation for Harris’ draft value is that he’s likely pigeonholed to the pivot. Without ideal size, I doubt any team is going to give him a shot at guard at the next level.
While undersized, Harris is still on the athletic side. He posted a 5.10 in the forty and a 29.5-inch jump in the vertical. He also possesses the lateral agility to stick with linebackers at the second level which opened up many a hole in the Washington run game this past season. He’s agile and jittery which helps a lot in a zone-based scheme like the Rams’.
Seeing three junior centers being mocked in Round 2 (Cushenberry, Hennessey, Ruiz) but won’t be surprised if @UW_Football C Nick Harris goes there too. Many teams we’ve spoken with have Top-50 grades on Harris. Very similar to last year’s No. 18 pick, #Vikings Garrett Bradbury. pic.twitter.com/yq5OqD10Gi— Jim Nagy (@JimNagy_SB) March 23, 2020
The great thing about Harris is that he will likely be available in the fourth or fifth round, depending how much his position limitation affects his value. Getting a top player at his position isn’t too shabby for a mid-day three pick, if you ask me.