The Miami Dolphins, with the 22nd overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, selected a pass-rush specialist who would need some time to develop into an every-down defensive end, capable of setting the edge against the run as well as getting after the quarterback. Charles Harris was the heir apparent to Cameron Wake, just as Wake was the heir apparent to Jason Taylor. Miami always has a pass rush monster, and Harris was set to become the next one.
Except, Harris is playing closer to Dion Jordan - another former heir apparent - than he is to Wake or Taylor. Five games into his third season, Harris has 46 tackles, three sacks, one fumble recovery, and two passes defensed.
In the two seasons in which Jordan played in Miami, he tallied 46 tackles, three sacks, and three passes defensed.
Harris has played in six more games that Jordan did for Miami. He has basically the exact same stats.
The Dolphins’ shift to using the 3-4 system more this year was supposed to help Harris find his role with the team. Rather than being a hand-on-the-ground defensive end, the former Missouri Tiger would play a role similar to his college career, able to hybrid between defensive end and outside linebacker, rushing the quarterback from multiple positions all around the defense.
Except, that is not happening. And, Harris’ playing time is starting to show his struggles during the game:
- Week 1: Starting defensive end, 61 snaps played.
- Week 2: Starting outside linebacker, 66 snaps played.
- Week 3: Starting outside linebacker, 67 snaps played.
- Week 4: 26 snaps played.
- Week 6: 12 snaps played.
The addition of Taco Charlton can contribute to some of this, especially the lack of starts the last two games, but Harris has clearly lost the favor of the Dolphins coaching staff.
Harris disappearing from games - both when he is on the field and by the coaches keeping him on the sideline in favor of other players - could be a sign that his time in Miami is coming to an end. He will likely be on the roster in 2020, simply because he would only save the team $291,000 in salary cap space, while accounting for $3.2 million in dead money, but he may be down to a rotational reserve player by then. The Dolphins will likely not use the fifth-year option on Harris next year.
Harris has 11 games to try to prove that he is not headed toward a Dion Jordan career with the Dolphins, but as of now, things are not looking good for him.