Okay, I’ll be the first to admit, this one’s a longshot. If you saw his TD catch in week 10 however, you’ll understand why there’s potential; it was out of this world. Even before the incredible highlight catch, there were some in the community urging the Redskins to give this guy a chance.
This also wasn’t the first time he has done such a thing. He pulled off a similar catch during his time in college.
CSN’s Rich Tandler reported back in May, that the Redskins were “very, very high” on the 6’3”, 200 pounds, 2nd year WR. Additionally, there have been many insiders who have noted that the Redskins have wanted Robert Davis and Harris to be promoted off the practice roster for a while. However, due to injuries, they haven’t been able to until now. ESPN’s John Keim reported that “they’ve loved his hands for a while and consider his hands to be the best on the team”. That’s high praise for a team with Jordan Reed, Chris Thompson, Vernon Davis, Jamison Crowder, Josh Doctson, and Terrelle Pryor.
We all know the struggles that Pryor, Doctson, and Crowder have had this season, so it’s not out of the realm of possibility that Harris gets, even more, opportunity going forward. So, if you want to know more of a background for Keenan Allen’s cousin, look no further!
Harris turned out for Cal for 4 years alongside Jared Goff, Bryce Treggs, and Kenny Lawler. During his 4-year career, he failed to set the world alight. A breakdown of his Cal stats can be seen below:
Furthermore, he didn’t have the strongest physical profile. His 40-yard dash graded in the 25th percentile, while his speed score was in the 27th percentile, and his agility score was in the 32nd percentile. As such, he wasn’t highly touted in the 2016 draft process and ended up going undrafted. He was then signed by the Redskins as a UDFA.
It’s therefore easy to see why failure was expected. However, his technical ability seems to have shone through. As previously mentioned, he has great hands, solid route running ability, as well as an ability to play both inside and outside in versatile packages.
He has also garnered the attention of his QB. Following the week 10 game, Kirk Cousins said, “wasn’t too much of a surprise, because he’s been making those sorts of plays in practice all year. He’s a natural receiver. We think, when he was at Cal, a lot of the routes he ran and what he was asked to do were very similar to what we do here. There are some really tough catches that are not natural catches for a receiver that takes years to get good at, and he showed up Day 1 last year as an undrafted rookie and would run in there fearlessly and attack the ball with his hands, which is hard to do. It’s hard to run at a ball coming at you and catch it with your hands … as opposed to letting the ball come into your body. He does that naturally, and so really a natural receiver, great hands, and he’s done it on the scout team for the past two seasons, and we’ve been asking, ‘Can we get him up? Can we activate him? He can make plays; he’s the best player we’ve seen in practice with the scout team,’ but with the injuries, it was hard to make the numbers work to get him up. This week, we were able to do it, and he proved the coaches right in bringing him up. He made a great play.”
Considering Pryor and Ryan Grant are both free agents at the end of the year, it’s anyone’s guess as to who will feature going forward. Doctson and Crowder have underwhelmed, so there’s no guarantee they seize the occasion. The Redskins have Harris tied to an Exclusive Rights Free Agent contract so can bring him back next season for a minimal contract.
I’m watching the Redskins’ snap counts carefully in the next few weeks to see if they delegate a few more snaps away from their underperforming core. Harris’ catch has brought some attention to his name, but the 25-year old is still free in the majority of formats. Particularly in deeper leagues, he can be considered as an end-of-roster type guy until we see how this situation plays out.