EARTH CITY, Mo. -- We’ve officially reached the closest thing to a dead period the NFL has to offer these days as organized team activities are over and training camp has not yet arrived.
That means vacation time for the players, coaches and, yes, reporters. In the meantime, let’s get to know some of the lesser-known additions to the Rams' roster: the rookie free agents.
Position: Defensive tackle
Weight: 281 pounds
Stat to know: A two-sport athlete who also played basketball, Harlan was a rock in the middle of Bacone's defense for his final two seasons. He posted 72 tackles, 13 sacks and 23 tackles for loss in those two years. In 2013, he led the team in sacks with 7.5 and tackles for loss (17) on his way to Central States Football League honorable mention honors.
Road to the roster: It's no secret that earning a roster spot on the St. Louis Rams' defensive line is going to be difficult. The Rams already have eight players who would form a strong rotation barring injury. They have had a knack for keeping nine in the past, though, which could leave a slight opening for a player like Harlan to sneak in. But it's going to take some work for him to overcome a returning tackle like Matt Conrath or end like Sammy Brown or a draft pick such as Michael Sam. Even inside, Harlan doesn't come with the reputation of fellow undrafted rookie Ethan Westbrooks. It's not impossible but he's probably got the biggest hill to climb among those fighting for a spot on this defensive line.