The Dolphins could’ve selected a linebacker at pick No. 22 and filled the perceived need with Alabama’s Reuben Foster, but they passed on the player many viewed as the top linebacker in the draft. The Dolphins instead selected defensive end Charles Harris out of the University of Missouri.
Standing 6-foot-3, 253 pounds, Harris collected 34.5 career tackles for loss as a Tiger. Harris’ quickness off the edge and his versatility allowed him to torment quarterbacks at the college level and he’s looking forward to having a similar impact in the NFL sooner rather than later.
“I have to take advantage of this,” Harris said. “Being first round, second [round], it doesn’t matter when I would’ve gotten drafted. I’m going to come into the league and I’m going to dominate. I don’t have the same mindset as everybody else.”
Dolphins general manager Chris Grier highlighted Harris’ competitive spirit among many of the attributes that motivated Miami to take him at No. 22.
“We love the pass rush that he gives us,” Grier said. “It’s a position you never have enough guys in this league – the way the game is played. We like the kid’s attitude, his competitiveness. … This guy loves football. It’s very important to him. When you talk to people around the program and do your work on him, you hear all of the same things. ‘This guy’s a gym rat, he loves football, it’s very important to him, [and] he’s passionate.’”
Harris’ competitive nature clearly stands out as does his ability to get to the quarterback, evidenced by his 18 career sacks, but he can also play many positions across the defensive front.
“At the end of the day, I know the coaches are going to put me in the right position, I’m just going to ball,” Harris said. “… My utilization – probably be used like [Seattle Seahawks defensive end] Michael Bennett – outside, inside, any and everything. I can play any technique – 9, 5, 3 [technique], I can do anything.”
Normally tight-lipped about incoming rookies, Grier seemed optimistic about utilizing Harris’ versatility. “He’ll be in our rotation,” Grier said. “We envision him being in our top four. That’s obviously why we picked him where we did. For us – the traits, the quickness, the speed, the explosiveness off the edge, the ability to rush, he also rushes inside. I know he’s 255 pounds – but on third downs you see him go inside because he’s got, again an explosive first step and quickness.”
Harris will not be short on experienced pass rushers to learn from as he’s looking forward to having defensive end Cameron Wake a help guide him through his rookie season.
“I’m coming in with a humble attitude – willing to work, willing to take coaching from any and everybody is everything. He’s a great palyer and I just want to learn. At the end of the day, I’m just hungry for knowledge and I just want to get better.”