I really like what the Dolphins have done this offseason; any time your favorite team makes the kinds of moves you want them to make and acquires the kinds of players you want them to acquire, you’re going to naturally be more optimistic about their chances of winning games. I’ve said repeatedly that to return to prominence, Miami must adopt a philosophy of well-coached players on offense and stud athletes on defense. This is, generally speaking, what winning NFL franchises do, and I’m very pleased that the Dolphins are apparently now implementing this approach.
Miami’s first-round pick in 2017, DE Charles Harris, is a great example of this. He is, first and foremost, the personification of a stud athlete. A 4.82 forty time is pretty darn good for a defensive end and he also banged out 21 reps at 225 lbs. on the bench press, which isn’t an easy thing to do when you have arms that are nearly 33 inches in length. Although he didn’t necessarily take the league by storm during his rookie season, the young man is brimming with upside, in my estimation. He recorded two sacks but was just a step away on probably a dozen or so other plays. You’ve heard the term ‘coverage sack’, right? With the Dolphins well on their way to having one of the best secondaries in the AFC, I look for Harris to convert a lot of those quarterback hurries into quarterback sacks in 2018.
Unfortunately, many fans apparently aren’t satisfied with Harris’ progress thus far. Their argument being, that anytime you draft a player in the first round, he should be an immediate contributor. I get that, but what about fellow rookie defensive ends Solomon Thomas and Jonathan Allen, selected by San Francisco and Washington, with the third overall and seventeenth overall picks, respectively? Thomas had three sacks last year and Allen had only one, yet I don’t hear the fans over on ‘Niners Nation’ or ‘Hog Haven’ calling either of those guys busts. Folks, developing an NFL pass rusher takes time. A few years ago, when second-round pick Jamar Taylor had shown us virtually nothing after two seasons, we still wanted to give him more time to acclimate to the pro game. I think we need to be a little more patient with Harris, and I look for him to become a pass rushing terror for opposing offenses, perhaps as early as this season. I’m going to go ahead and put him down for eight sacks this year, an average of half a sack per game, and I think he can get there.
Just as an aside, you don’t have the luxury of taking a ‘slam dunk’ type of player in the draft when you’ve won ten games and gone to the playoffs the year before, and we had better get used to not being able to draft the top guy at a given position going forward, because I think this team will be drafting in the twenties for the foreseeable future. Just my opinion. It’s an exciting time to be a Dolphin fan.