The Los Angeles Rams opted to shore up some depth at tight end by taking Jacob Harris in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft.
Harris caught the team’s eye thanks to his rare blend of size and speed. Although he was listed as both a wide receiver and tight end coming out of UCF, he has since embraced the full-time switch to the latter throughout the offseason.
With training camp now in full swing, it is a crucial time for rookies to make some strides in their development. However, Harris was unable to take part in the first practice sessions.
According to Jourdan Rodrigue of The Athletic, Harris is reportedly still recovering from a core injury that required surgery in the spring:
Rookie tight end Jacob Harris, who flashed and impressed with the first team in the spring, did not practice but did go through some stretching and was fully dressed out. He suffered a minor core injury this spring, a source with knowledge of the injury told The Athletic, and had a procedure to get it fixed. He is expected to be fully cleared in a few weeks, and because nobody was put on the PUP list, it’s clear the Rams are just being extra careful with Harris – likely in anticipation of the role he’ll play down the stretch of the season.
The timing of the setback is hardly ideal for Harris as he looks to make an impression on both offense and special teams. Fortunately, the report indicates that the injury is not deemed to be too serious and his lack of participation is simply a precaution by the team.
Making the full-time switch to tight end will surely come with some growing pains for the rookie as he continues to get acclimated to head coach Sean McVay’s offense. Regardless, his current status not being placed on the physically unable to perform list is certainly an encouraging sign that he will be back soon.
The departure of Gerald Everett in free agency left a notable void to fill for this crowded tight end group behind Tyler Higbee. Johnny Mundt and Brycen Hopkins already have the edge when it comes to experience in the system and will be looking to step up into Everett’s complementary role.
Even if Harris is able to make his return in the coming weeks, it remains to be seen if the Rams are willing to risk any potential setbacks in the preseason.