Continuing an annual season preview exercise, Bleacher Report picked each NFL team's most intriguing project player entering the 2021 season. National writer Brad Gagnon's choice for the Rams: Rookie tight end Jacob Harris.
"He's 6'5" and 211 pounds with elite athleticism and tremendous speed for his size," Gagnon wrote as part of his analysis.
Chosen in the fourth round of this year's draft by Los Angeles, Harris primarily played wide receiver at UCF, posting 26 catches for 472 yards and seven touchdowns while starting in six of nine games last year.
That speed and athleticism stood out to Rams head coach Sean McVay, who allocated Harris some reps with quarterback Matthew Stafford in 7-on-7 drills during organized team activities this spring.
"Jacob Harris is a great addition to that room," McVay said during a June 10 video conference. "I think he's a guy that has a tremendous amount of upside. (Pass game coordinator and tight ends coach) Wes Phillips has done a really nice job of getting him up to speed. But his natural range, catch radius, body control for a player of his size is pretty rare. I mean, I think you guys can see, for NFL guys to stand out the way that he's done in some of these limited settings in shorts and in helmets, he's definitely made a positive impression. We all understand that it's about when you put the pads on and how that truly translates, but I think it's because he's earned it. I've been very pleased with him. He's smart. He's conscientious, and he's done a great job improving throughout."
Bleacher Report has had a pretty good pulse on the Rams' developmental players. Last year, their choice for Los Angeles' most intriguing project player was cornerback Darious Williams, who would turn in a career 2020 season and emerge as an importance piece to L.A.'s defense. In 2019, it was defensive lineman Sebastian Joseph-Day, who became a full-time starter that season.
The Rams will pick up where they left off with Harris' development in training camp in late July.