What’s The Expectations For Charles Harris In 2017?
Miami brass expects Harris to be a potent pass rusher
The Miami Dolphins 2017 Draft class has already lost starting LB Raekwon McMillian and 7th round pick WR Isaiah Ford. And with the season only days away, the sole starter ( although now it seems it’s a shared duty with Jordan Phillips ) appears to be 5th rounder DT Davon Godchaux.
The question is, how much effect will the 2017 Draft Class have on this season? A big determiner will be the play of 1st Rd pick Charles Harris. So what should be expected of his rookie season?
First, let’s be clear, Harris is a bit of a project. This isn’t a surprise. Slow development has been the expectation from the start. At the moment, Harris is the 5th best DE on the depth chart. But let’s be clear, Cameron Wake vouches for Harris’ talent. Wake foresees handing the torch off to Harris as it was handed off to him by Jason Taylor… That’s about as good a recommendation as your ever gonna’ get, so it’s good enough for me.
But we aren’t looking to the future in this article. We focusing on now.
Harris gives hints that he might be special
Early on, Harris was showcasing his speed and ability to get to the QB and was impressing both coaches and vets. Fast-forward to the end of preseason, Harris has yet to produce much in terms of game-time stats. So far in 3 games, he has 1 solo tackle, no sacks, no quarterback hits, and no tackles for a loss.
It’s fair to say that many pph bookie service providers were betting on him having more impact. But it’s also fair to say that stats can lack context… and after all, it’s only Preseason.
So what does the story going forward look like?
Harris showed flashes of edge pressure in pass rush all Preseason, and he was at his best in Week 4–albeit against lesser talent. He has also displayed a relentless style of play that runs at 100%. Hard work can never be underestimated.
But there was also plenty of very green plays that highlighted his lack of play recognition, lack of contain, and even a bout of the ‘fall downs’. At times he looked extremely raw. Below is a few examples of this general theme.
The only real concern going forward in the short term is his real lack of strength and ability to play run defense. But given his frame, his strength should increase in a season or two, which will go a long way to helping improve his run support and pass rush.
Harris also showed weakness in his hand fighting. Far too often he relied on the ‘chicken wing’ to try and drive a blocker. Sometimes this worked, but far more often it allowed his opponent to get their hands on him, where his lack of strength left him dominated.
Run support is Harris’ greatest issue at the moment
And yet, small flashes showed what Harris could be, if he does develop.
Below, despite his over angling to use leverage to compensate for his lack of strength, his ability to fight a block, maintain gap integrity and edge control… and still get free to make the tackle was one of his best plays in Preseason. The second play stands out as a highlight of what he was billed to be: a pass rusher with a nice spin move. The use of his hand post spin is seamless and instinctual on this one. This snap shows that with a few more tools in his bag that he may very well take the torch from Wake and run with it.
Overall this isn’t the ‘sky is falling’ type of concern… at least not yet. However, after strong OTA’s most fans were wagering that Harris was going to be a real stud this year. Unfortunately, once the pads came on, his spin move and other pass rushing moves lost much of their punch.
It’s easier to shine early, the Regular Season will offer a great indicator of the future
When Coach Gase was asked about Harris’ lack of sacks and stats, he said he wasn’t worried. Gase said Harris has been disruptive and put pressure on the QB to force an early release.
Harris’ take on his progress so far was that he’s been thinking too much and not letting it rip.
I’ll throw the ever useful cliche in… time will tell if this is truth or an excuse.
I don’t see Harris as a player offering much production for the 1st half of the season. And it’s not out of the realm of possibility to see him deactivated for some games. I do expect him too develop a bit as the season progresses and to bring production outside of being called on due to injury. This may just end up as a spot rusher on clear passing downs, as I doubt he can correct his run-stopping issue this season. But I do see him as being a minor factor at some point in 2017.
At the moment, it appears that Harris is still getting used to the speed and complexity of the NFL. Unfortunately, the doubting Thomas in me hears the old Bill Parcells’ quote, ‘If Rookies don’t bite as puppies, then they are never going to bite’. Parcell’s believed good players generally produce in the NFL right away, and if they don’t, then they may never. Of course, Parcells best acquisition was Wake who languished up in Canada a few seasons before he started biting. Guess Bill’s quote is more like a guideline and not set in stone. If will be interesting to see if Harris bites sooner or later. Go Fins!!!
*Video and break downs were done by M.J. through the slave shop wages of a tyrannical Jimmy Bourbon