With the No. 22 overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft, the Miami Dolphins selected University of Missouri pass-rusher Charles Harris. Check out three reasons why he will be a great fit for the Fins.
1. The NFL Loves to Pass
In a league where passing is paramount, the days of needing a star run-stopper are long gone. Having a formidable pass-rush can take a team far, as evidenced by Von Miller and the Denver Broncos in their Super Bowl win over the Carolina Panthers. A guy like Harris who can cause chaos is invaluable.
Critics point to the fact that a first-round run-stopper would take care of a glaring weakness on this Miami team. After giving up 140 rushing yards per game, the Fins had the third-worst rushing defense in the league in 2016. However, the numbers tell a different story. Out of the 10 worst rushing defenses, three of those teams made the playoffs and five finished with winning records, which illustrates stopping the run isn’t as important as it used to be.
Furthermore, quarterbacks are more efficient than ever, which makes passing advantageous. In 2001, there were just two QBs with more than 4,000 passing yards, and by 2011 there were 10. With constant injuries and guys who can seamlessly make a name for themselves, the bell-cow back has become an obsolete position in the league, and the statistics support prolific passing. As a result, a pass rusher like Harris is vital to the Miami defense.
2. Raekwon McMillan & William Hayes Should Help the Run Defense
Seen as a big-hitter at linebacker, Miami’s second-round pick had over 100 tackles in both his
sophomore and junior seasons at The Ohio State University, and his 119 tackles as a sophomore led the team. His draft profile keys in on his abilities to run downhill, anticipate lane choice by runners and outrun pulling guards to secure tackles—things Miami desperately yearned for in 2016. McMillan may not start immediately, but he offers promise and an aggression at a position the Fins need some help with.
As a 9-year veteran, William Hayes comes from the opposite end of his career. Miami acquired Hayes from the Los Angeles Rams as a free agent, and he should immediately fill a starting position on the defensive line. Hayes is a proven tackler who can get to the QB, but most importantly he should provide stability Miami missed from Mario Williams. In 2016, the majority of the former Ram’s work came in the middle, and if he can replicate that, it will alleviate the workload for Ndamukong Suh.
3. Harris Gets to Learn from Wake
NFL analysts often believe a team’s first-round pick should be an immediate starter, but throwing a rookie into the fire isn’t always a good thing. If Harris doesn’t become an immediate every-down player, the opportunity to observe Wake will be great for development.
When Wake joined the Dolphins in 2009, he got to learn from another Miami legend in Jason Taylor. Taylor will be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in a few months and Wake is now a five-time Pro Bowler. The opportunity to learn from a veteran cannot be understated, and Wake will now carry the torch in the mentor role for Harris.
Both 6-feet-3-inches, Harris has the size and length to mimic Wake’s game.Local Sun Sentinel reporter Omar Kelly said he saw hints of Wake’s flexibility and spin move in Harris, which is promising for the Fins, who will eventually need to replace the 35-year-old.
What else do they have in common? Harris wore No. 91 at the University of Missouri.
“It means everything, to be able to come in and learn from him,” Harris told the Miami Dolphins website. “It’s everything. He’s a great player, and I’m going to learn. At the end of the day, I’m hungry for knowledge.”