The Los Angeles Rams have lost their second-string tight end, Johnny Mundt, for the remainder of the season following an ACL tear in the team's Week 6 game against the New York Giants.
Mundt, who didn't pose much of a receiving threat, was however a sure-handed pass-catcher and an adequate blocker. So with his contributions no longer available, who do the Rams have to step up in his place?
L.A. has two different options they can turn to – the rookie Jacob Harris or second-year player Brycen Hopkins to fill the void in Mundt's absence.
There's been no indication from coach Sean McVay about who will theoretically step into this new role, but each player presents an intriguing case for how they may be used.
“I know that somebody is going to need to step up at the tight end spot and the running back spot," McVay said Monday. "A couple of guys that are candidates on the practice squad or maybe even on the active roster already. So, those are things that we're in the process of working through."
Harris was a preseason darling, providing eye-popping plays in training camp and preseason games. The rookie pass-catcher out of UCF served a hybrid role in college, lining up at wide receiver and tight end. His athleticism and versatility allows for McVay to deploy him in a variety of ways without having to force him into an expanded role as Tyler Higbee will still be the primary option at tight end.
Like the majority of rookies, Harris is not a finished product. But his upside as shown in the small glimpses of preseason play was clear – he could be a problem for linebackers and safeties to cover with his wide receiver background to his disposal.
Rams' Thursday Injury Report for Week 13 vs. Jaguars
The Rams have released their Thursday injury report ahead of the Week 13 game against the Jaguars.
Raheem Morris Describes the Current State of the Rams Defense, How They Look to Proceed Moving Forward
Raheem Morris details the recent defensive efforts by the Rams and in what ways they look to get back on track.
Rams vs. Jaguars Week 13: How to Watch, Listen and Stream
The Rams take on the Jaguars in Week 13 at SoFi Stadium. Here's how to watch and listen to their upcoming contest.
Harris has taken just six offensive snaps this season. Meanwhile, his efforts on special teams have been where he's offered most of his contributions.
As for Hopkins, he too was a fourth-round selection of the Rams. He hasn't been given any snaps this season but was a special teams contributor in 2020 as a rookie.
As a prospect, Hopkins' best trait was his crisp route running, while his primary shortcoming was the ability in which it takes to be an in-line blocker. Hopkins' frame doesn't align to the extent of players across the league that are labeled blocking tight ends, but an improvement in that area is certainly an aspect he could improve in.
With Harris looking like the more superior pass-catcher of the two during training camp, he projects as the next guy in line for the job.
McVay said he would deliver more clarity on who may take over this role in the coming days.
More from Ram Digest:
- Sean McVay Admits Communication Deficiency Ahead of Jared Goff Trade
- SI Power Rankings: Where do the Rams sit Ahead of Week 7?
- Rams RB Jake Funk, TE Johnny Mundt to Miss Remainder of Season
- 5 Takeaways From the Rams' Week 6 Win Over Giants
- Matthew Stafford on Facing Lions in Week 7: 'Just Another Football Game'