He was drafted by the Rams as a tight end, found a role on special teams and has since been switched to receiver.
Jacob Harris is happy to continue evolving.
The 6-foot-5 Harris strengthened his bid for a role in the defending Super Bowl champions’ receiver rotation with his performance in Friday’s preseason game against the Houston Texans.
Harris caught a pass on the first play, marking a milestone of sorts for the 2021 fourth-round draft pick from Central Florida. Harris played in nine games last season on special teams before suffering a season-ending knee injury. He was sidelined for part of training camp because of a groin injury.
“Going into the game, I was super excited, anxious, all the emotions,” Harris said. “And just getting that first touch of the ball out of the way was definitely helpful.”
Harris was targeted seven times. He finished with four catches for 24 yards.
“As the game got on, all those ebbs and flows of the game started to come back to me,” he said. “I was just out there enjoying it and having fun.”
At the start of training camp, Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson and Van Jefferson were the projected starters for the Sept. 8 opener against the Buffalo Bills. But Jefferson has not practiced since undergoing knee surgery this month.
Until Jefferson returns, coach Sean McVay is expected to utilize Ben Skowronek and Tutu Atwell and possibly Harris and rookie Lance McCutcheon.
McCutcheon, an undrafted free agent from Montana State, starred in the preseason opener against the Chargers. He had another productive game against the Texans, making him a viable candidate to make the 53-player roster.
“Can’t be satisfied,” McCutcheon said. “I’m still an undrafted free agent, and so just still got to compete week in and week out, game in and game out, and just keep working.”
Injuries and other issues affect initial roster decisions, but here is an updated look at what the 53-man roster could look like:
Quarterbacks: Matthew Stafford, John Wolford, Bryce Perkins
Stafford continues to manage right elbow tendinitis, but the 14th-year pro looked fine during an intrasquad scrimmage last week. Stafford will participate in joint practices with the Cincinnati Bengals this week and is on track to start the opener. Wolford started against the Texans and got his first extended playing time since the 2020 season. He looked rusty, though he was facing Texans starters during the first quarter and was victimized by a porous offensive line. Perkins continues to make a case for roster spot, and possibly more.
Running backs: Cam Akers, Darrell Henderson, Jake Funk, Kyren Williams
Akers and Henderson did not practice last week because of what McVay described as “soft-tissue” injuries. It remains to be seen whether they will practice against the Bengals. Williams took first-team reps during last week’s scrimmage and practices, but he has yet to play in a preseason game. Funk’s role is mainly on special teams.
Wide receivers: Cooper Kupp, Allen Robinson, Van Jefferson, Ben Skowronek, Tutu Atwell, Brandon Powell, Jacob Harris, Lance McCutcheon
When Jefferson had knee surgery a few weeks ago, McVay said there was a chance the third-year pro would be ready for the opener. But Jefferson has yet to return to practice or work with trainers on the field during practice. McCutcheon has made a case for a roster spot with two productive preseason performances. Harris showed against the Texans that he can contribute.
Tight ends: Tyler Higbee, Brycen Hopkins
The Rams on Saturday waived Kendall Blanton, a key contributor during the playoffs and Super Bowl last season. That decision seemingly was made in part because of Hopkins’ ascent. The 2020 fourth-round draft pick from Purdue stepped up in the Super Bowl and has been productive through the preseason.
Offensive linemen: Joe Noteboom, David Edwards, Brian Allen, Coleman Shelton, Rob Havenstein, A.J. Jackson, Bobby Evans, Tremayne Anchrum, Jeremiah Kolone
Rookie Logan Bruss suffered a season-ending knee injury against the Texans, complicating the Rams’ plans for their rotation of linemen. McVay spoke of the “incredible strides” that Jackson and Anchrum have made but it remains to be seen if they can be dependable backups in more than spot duty.
Defensive linemen: Aaron Donald, Greg Gaines, A’Shawn Robinson, Marquise Copeland, Michael Hoecht
Hoecht is the only defensive lineman in this group who has played during the preseason.
Inside linebackers: Bobby Wagner, Ernest Jones, Travin Howard, Christian Rozeboom
Jones has been receiving a master class in inside linebacker play from Wagner, a six-time All-Pro. Practices against the Bengals will give defensive coordinator Raheem Morris an opportunity to evaluate them in tandem. Jake Hummel and Jake Gervase are other potential roster candidates because of special teams play.
Outside linebackers: Leonard Floyd, Justin Hollins, Terrell Lewis, Chris Garrett
Rookie Daniel Hardy suffered a high ankle sprain against the Texans and is scheduled to undergo surgery, McVay said. He will probably open the season on injured reserve but is expected to return.
Cornerbacks: Jalen Ramsey, Troy Hill, David Long, Robert Rochell, Cobie Durant, Derion Kendrick
Rookies Durant and Kendrick made plays against the Texans, showing they can provide.
Rochell, a second-year pro, has demonstrated that he is fully recovered from the chest injury that ended his 2020 season.
Safeties: Jordan Fuller, Nick Scott, Taylor Rapp, Terrell Burgess, Russ Yeast
Fuller continues to work his way back from ankle surgery. Rookie Quentin Lake, a sixth-round pick from UCLA, has yet to practice and appears bound for injured reserve.
Punter: Riley Dixon
Dixon averaged 46.7 yards for six punts against the Texans, putting three inside the 20-yard line.
Kicker: Matt Gay
The 2021 Pro Bowl selection kicked field goals of 43 and 36 yards against the Texans.
Long-snapper: Matthew Orzech
Punt and field-goal snap operation has been flawless during two preseason games.