One of the more intriguing late-round prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft is on the New England Patriots.
The Patriots are one of several teams that have met virtually with Central Florida wide receiver Jacob Harris, according to a report Thursday from Justin Melo of The Draft Network.
Harris wasn’t a well-known name at the outset of the pre-draft process, but he turned heads with an incredible performance at UCF’s pro day last week.
Measuring in at 6-foot-5, 219 pounds, the big-bodied pass catcher posted a 4.39-second 40-yard dash, 6.51-second three-cone drill, 4.31-second short shuttle, 40.5-inch vertical jump and 133-inch broad jump. Outside of his so-so shuttle time, those all are superb marks for a receiver his size.
Harris’ three-cone time would have beaten the top performer at last year’s NFL Scouting Combine (Denzel Mims, 6.66) by 0.15 seconds.
Harris’ relative athletic score — an all-encompassing metric that factors in all of his testing numbers — ranks in the 98th percentile among wide receivers over the last 25 years.
Harris also was a productive deep threat for UCF last season, catching 30 passes for 539 yards and eight touchdowns. He averaged 20.1 yards per receptions over the course of his college career and was a contributor on special teams.
The Athletic’s Dane Brugler recently put Harris at No. 1 on his list of 2021 NFL Draft sleepers.
The downsides? Harris, a 24-year-old former soccer star, still is relatively new to football, having picked up the sport as a high school senior. NFL evaluators also are split on where to play him at the next level, with some reportedly viewing him as a wideout and others envisioning him as a pass-catching tight end.
Harris is far too light to play tight end for the Patriots, who require theirs to be capable in-line blockers, and might need some more seasoning before he’s ready to take on NFL defenses. But his elite athleticism, special teams ability and big-play potential could make him an enticing late-round flier.