The Miami Dolphins have selected Missouri defensive end Charles Harris with the 22nd overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. With the selection, Miami adds a young pass rusher who will have time to develop behind Cameron Wake while also giving the team a potential starting challenger to Andre Branch, or a rotational option as needed. It is a good pick for the Dolphins, but it does not mean Harris is perfect.
Last month, Pro Football Focus released their draft profile on Harris. They listed both his strengths (“what he does best”) and weaknesses (“biggest concern”). Among his strengths, they wrote:
Has arguably the best spin move among pass-rushers in this draft class. Can get into the body of an opposing offensive tackle and spin free at speed. Picked up nine of his 59 total pressures on spins.
Very good get-off on pass-rushes. Helped him to a pass-rushing productivity rating of 14.4 on rushes from the right side of the defense, seventh-best among 3-4 outside linebackers in 2016.
Consistently one of the nation’s top pass-rushers in two years as a starter. Had the ninth-best pass-rushing grade among edge defenders in 2015, and 12th-best in 2016.
On the biggest concern side, they looked at his play against the run:
Pushed around far too easily against the run this season. Didn’t offer much resistance against down blocks, and his run stop percentage of just 4.9 percent was tied for 91st-best among 3-4 outside linebackers.
Caught over pursuing far too often. Sometimes inside, sometimes outside, and sometimes upfield. Seemed to lose track of the play.
Was overpowered by opposing offensive tackles at times. Big part of the reason why his run defense grade ranked tied for 163 among edge defenders in 2016.
The “bottom line” on Harris explained:
The good from Harris is very good. He can make a fool out of offensive linemen with his signature spin move, and it’s good enough to cause problems for tackles the NFL too. That being said, the lack of variety in his pass-rushing arsenal, along with his lack of strength against the run, especially in 2016, does give cause for concern. He may be limited to a pass-rushing role at the next level.
Harris’ role in the Miami defense next year should be exactly what PFF writes - a pass rusher. The Dolphins traded for defensive end William Hayes this offseason specifically for his run-stopping ability. A year of being a pass rush specialist, learning from Hayes and Pro Bowl defensive end Cameron Wake - a year that will allow him to strengthen his run game thanks to Hayes and increase his pass rush moves with Wake’s tutelage - will be perfect for Harris.
Yes, this is a first-round pick who may not necessarily be a starter in Week 1, but this should prove to be a great pick for the Dolphins.