Harris: Will Slow And Steady Justify Grier’s Choice?
Early season Harris wasn’t the same as late season Harris
The Miami Dolphins had a load of choices with the 22nd overall pick in the 2017 Draft.
Not many were excited by the pick of Charles Harris. His subsequent slow start even had many ‘believers’ questioning the choice.
The voices were legion who cried, ‘ MLB Reuben Foster was there for the taking, and Chris Grief was a fool not to take him.’
Errr, I meant to say Chris Grier.
And given his season, a PFF grade of 90.7, ranking Foster the #4 MLB, their cries carry plenty of weight–like a mountain’s worth.
Others, like me, preferred T.J. Watt or even … but understood the need at Defensive End. We kept our fingers crossed.
Given a review of a full season, and the recent arrest of Foster for 2nd-degree marijuana possession, a Class A misdemeanor, maybe Grier won’t look so bad.
Foster had an excellent season in 10 starts with 76 tackles, 59 of which were solo with 7 stuffs included. But some of his injury red flags cropped up with nicks making him miss a couple of games early, and now the arrest, adds a lot of credence to Grier’s concern.
Miami sure doesn’t need another 1st Round addict on its roster.
Harris never lacked work ethic
Watt might have had the best statistical season with 52 tackles, 40 of which were solo, 7 sacks, 7 pass defensed, and a forced fumble and a pick. That’s an eye pooping rookie season for sure. But his PFF grade was 78.1. Which means that behind the flashy numbers Watt has some work to do.
Then there’s Harris with his 19 Tackles (17 of them solo), 2 Sacks, and 2 Passes Defensed… Yet, he has a 76.7 PFF rating. This means behind the paltry stats, Harris is doing the little–and statistically invisible–things right.
Going into the last game of the season against the Bills, PFF said this:
“T Dion Dawkins vs. Edge Charles Harris – Two rookies who have had excellent debut seasons will go head-to-head on Sunday. Dawkins has done a great job in pass protection all season. Since Week 7, Dawkins has only allowed 14 total pressures and is one of 10 offensive tackles with at least 100 pass-block snaps not to allow a sack. In fact, Dawkins hasn’t allowed a sack since Week 5. Harris has the fourth-most pressures by a rookie edge defender this season with 34, and his pass-rushing productivity rating of 9.1 is the sixth-best.”
We all remember this Harris:
Harris got better and better as the season progressed
Late in the season, he became a much better player. In this clip of the Fins first meeting against the Bills, you see Harris dominating a FB and TE to set the edge. Then, while playing inside, he beats a double team with a spin move and makes the tackle. This is exceptional development in his weakest area.
A lot of what Harris lacked early, clicked late in the season
His pass rush skills definitely improved. Notice how he doesn’t quit and continues to hand fight. The patience and growth in his hand fighting technique paid off. This was a brutal hit on Tyrod Taylor. These kinda’ shots are like body blows in boxing. They pay dividends as the game goes on. It’s another excellent play that doesn’t show on the stat sheet. The second play shows growth in strength and ability to use leverage. Dion Dawkins is massive, outweighing him by 60 pounds. He would have been engulfed and tossed aside like a rag doll earlier in the season.
His play recognition improved dramatically
The clip below is an outstanding snap by Harris. It demonstrates vet level play recognition of a screen pass. He was beaten like a drum early in the season because of his lack of play recognition. Here he has a free lane to the QB, realizes it’s a set up, then uses his Swiss Amy Knife spin move to backtrack on a dime. That demonstrates both excellent agility and recognition. If he had played like this from Preseason, the talk about his pick would be far, far different.
Interesting note, that wasn’t reported: Harris had only 2 snaps in the second Bills match up. After back-to -back plays, he never saw another snap. Was he injured? Whatever the reason, it wasn’t from failing in his assignments.
None of this means Harris will continue to grow next season. Nor that he will surpass either Foster or Watt. What it does mean is the narrative on him being a bust is false, or at least premature. Noted for being raw when drafted, his hard work and growth is obvious. These 3 players will be linked for their careers. It’s nice to know that maybe, just maybe the Phins got it right on this one… or were at least close. Go Phins!!!