Just when it was looking like certain roster spots were considered safe on the Los Angeles Rams, along came a shocker on the eve of the August 30 deadline requiring every NFL team to be at 53 players.
And this surprise roster decision involves one of the more intriguing young talents on the Rams — who represented the 2021 NFL Draft class.
Who Got Released
First reported by The Athletic’s Jourdan Rodrigue on the morning of Tuesday, August 30, the Rams released towering fourth rounder Jacob Harris.
“The Rams are releasing WR/TE Jacob Harris, per source. A surprise, considering Harris’ (fourth-rounder) athletic potential and ability to contribute on special teams,” Rodrigue tweeted at 1:03 p.m. Eastern.
This move now brings this scenario: Harris only comes back to the Rams if he’s not claimed by any other team via the waiver wire.
“Was injured most of 2021 (rookie season) but back healthy this year. If he’s not claimed he can return to PS (practice squad),” Rodrigue tweeted.
Why Decision on Harris is Called a Surprise
Harris was originally thought of as a lock to make the final 53-man roster.
One reason pointed to the amount of depth in the tight end room following the Rams releasing Super Bowl 56 starter Kendall Blanton. That unit also lost Johnny Mundt via free agency to the Minnesota Vikings.
Another reason pointed to the idea of the Rams carrying as many as eight wide receivers for 2022 — given how the Rams’ offense caters to wide receiver play. Harris was seen working with the WR group during training camp at Crawford Field on the UC Irvine campus.
The idea among media and Ram fans was that the 6-foot-5, 211-pounder would handle a versatile swingman role between TE and wideout. After all, Central Florida used him in a variety of ways to create mismatches off his size and 4.3 40-yard dash time.
The Rams had one scout describe him as a “physical freak” right after they took him in the fourth round.
Harris’ rookie season, however, got off to a rough start with a season ending ACL and MCL tear he suffered during the loss to the Tennessee Titans in November. He then battled a core muscle injury and groin strain during camp.
Still, the athletic traits were there in determining that Harris would play a key role for the Rams.
Could Harris Still Return?
While Harris joined Chris Garrett as 2021 picks who were part of the released Rams, Rodrigue responded to one fan that the Rams could still find a way to develop the towering talent — on practice squad.
“He didn’t really have a chance to do anything, with the injury last year,” Rodrigue posted to the fan. “If they can keep developing him on PS he could be really good, just needs time and coaching.”
Another reason for the decision on Harris points to this: The rise of 2022 undrafted rookie Lance McCutcheon, who became the star of Rams preseason. Perhaps it’s McCutcheon who becomes the last WR option for the Rams’ final 53.
As for Harris, the hope from members of the “Rams House” is that he does return even if it means practice squad. But one team to keep an eye on per SB Nation’s Kevin Knight: The Atlanta Falcons who are ran by offensive mind Arthur Smith as head coach.
“Given Arthur Smith’s propensity for that prototype, Falcons could be interested,” Knight posted.