Now this is interesting.
From Zach Berman:
“Another player who is taking snaps on the defensive side for versatility purposes? WR Jason Avant, in defensive backfield” – on Twitter
“Clay Harbor worked with OLBs. Avant worked with DBs. Just to be clear, these are not position changes. Just for purpose of versatility” – on Twitter
From Geoff Mosher:
“Avant didnt seem to think the snaps at DB clouds his future but harbor much more aware he might not make team.” – on Twitter
“Just talked to Clay Harbor & Jason Avant. Harbor spent 1 day practicing at OLB. Avant has seen time at DB.” – on Twitter
The first thing to point out is that these are not permanent moves. The coaches did some experimenting in practice. That said, it isn’t a good sign when a veteran player is getting reps at another position.
Why is this happening? Chip Kelly comes from college football. Position switches are common in CFB.
- Lane Johnson played QB, TE, and DE before finding a home on the OL.
- Connor Barwin played TE before moving to DE/LB.
- Jason Kelce began his career at LB and moved to OL.
- James Casey played all over the place while at Rice.
- Russell Shepard began as a QB and ended up as a WR/RS.
- Earl Wolff headed to college as a stud RB. He left as a star Safety.
- Danny Watkins went from firefighter to OL.
We’ll see how Avant and Harbor’s situations pan out. Maybe the experiments are over. Or maybe they’re just beginning. Both players have an uphill battle to make the team. Avant isn’t the kind of athlete Kelly wants at WR. Harbor has failed to develop at TE. There is a lot of depth at WR and TE now, making them more competitive spots. Both players do have talent. It seems Kelly is trying to find new ways to use that talent in his schemes and possibly find spots for the players.