When the Los Angeles Rams took a former college soccer player named Jacob Harris in the fourth round in May 2021, the idea was to turn loose a potential darkhorse tall, athletic receiving option into a nightmare mismatch against cornerbacks.
Harris and the Rams will have to wait until 2022 for that to happen — following the devastating news for the 6-foot-5, 211-pounder.
Harris, who played college soccer at Florida Gulf Coast University before tormenting cornerbacks at Central Florida, was placed on injured reserve on the afternoon of Monday, November 8, as announced by the team and head coach Sean McVay. Harris tore his MCL and ACL while covering on the Rams’ punt return team during the Rams’ 28-16 home loss to the Tennessee Titans on Sunday Night Football.
And McVay is bummed that Harris never got inserted into the offense.
“It’s a bummer,” McVay said. “I hate that for Jacob, and you were hoping to kind of get him a little bit more involved.”
Receiving Core is More Depleted
While Harris was drafted as a tight end, McVay has referred to him as a wide receiver.
And with that label and his injury, this ailment adds to the latest obstacle facing the Rams’ receiving unit.
Harris is now the second member of the L.A. 2021 draft class who won’t finish out the year healthy. The Rams’ top pick Tutu Atwell was placed on injured reserve on November 1 due to a shoulder injury. According to Pro Football Focus, Atwell saw action on just 37 total plays, but only 10 were on offense.
As for Harris, he saw action on 17 offensive snaps per PFF. He saw his most action on offense versus the Houston Texans, which was nine snaps including six on run block plays.
Harris saw most of his field snaps on special teams — on 135 total plays that involved the kick return, kickoff coverage, punt return and punt teams.
Along with Atwell and Harris, the Rams have already been downsized in numbers on the receiving end. The team lost DeSean Jackson a week ago who was waived by the team. Jackson has since found a new home with the Las Vegas Raiders — Jackson making the announcement on his Instagram page on Sunday afternoon.
The Rams had to promote J.J. Koski from the practice squad to fill the WR depth for the Titans game.
The Next Move for McVay and Rams
McVay and the Rams love hitting opponents with the 11 personnel scheme. But now, with the number of available players getting limited in the TE and WR department, the 35-year-old head coach now may be left with experimenting different looks.
“What that means as far as maybe we start mixing in some different personnel groupings,” McVay said. “And Kendall Blanton played some snaps as of late, maybe you get into some different stuff like that, those are all things that we’ll explore. But I do feel good about those top five.”
Harris, meanwhile, became the recipient of prayers and positive vibes on his social media pages. The UCF star then took to Twitter to announce “I’ll be back, better and ready to contribute!”