There are few positions in football as difficult and intricate as tight end, so it was always going to be a long learning curve for Jacob Harris since he didn’t begin his football career until 2018. The former soccer star with exceptional athleticism caught his first 19 passes as a senior at UCF in 2019, then another 30 passes in 2020, finishing with 987 yards in college.
The L.A. Rams used a fourth round pick on Harris in 2021, a very high selection for a receiver with 49 catches on a football field in his life, but there are few tight ends in the NFL who are as fast as he is (4.43 at his pro day) and the 6’5 prospect was a worthy project amid a draft class that didn’t have as much talent as some others.
Though it was always expected to take a lot of work for Harris—who has only ever been an outside wide receiver and not someone who has caught a lot of passes outside of that one role and with few routes—to become a tight end, it appears that the transition is over. The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue reported on Thursday that Harris is now officially back to being a wide receiver and that he will compete there instead of at tight end.
Jacob Harris walked into the Rams’ facilities this spring with a “new” position and a locker right next to Allen Robinson’s. In camp, and finally healthy, the message is clear: It’s time to go all-in at receiver. He’s got the tools, and teachers, to do it: https://t.co/BKE6U5DVTi— Jourdan Rodrigue (@JourdanRodrigue) July 28, 2022
As a wideout, Harris joins a crowded room with Allen Robinson, Cooper Kupp, Van Jefferson, Tutu Atwell, Ben Skowronek, and returner standout Brandon Powell. But it may have been even tougher for Harris to crack the roster as a tight end behind Tyler Higbee, Kendall Blanton, and Brycen Hopkins. If the Rams keep a fourth tight end, it could be someone like undrafted free agent Roger Carter, more of a versatile and complete player at the position at this point.
Will Jacob Harris make the roster? There’s no guarantee there. Despite his status as a recent fourth round pick, Harris could still potentially only bring 50/50 ball abilities into the red zone, a position not necessarily urgent for a roster with Kupp, Robinson, Higbee, and others. Players with more complete resumes at this point. If the Rams did cut Harris, he could be an attractive option to a team that has room at receiver and time to let him develop, but it could also be difficult for any team to use a 53-man roster spot on someone with so little football experience relative to his peers.
With Kupp, Robinson, Atwell, Jefferson, and Skowronek also all signed through at least 2023, most of them through 2024, it’s hard to see when and where Harris’s opportunities will start to come.