The Miami Dolphins made DE Charles Harris their selection in round one of April’s draft. While the position was considered a need, it’s unlikely that Harris becomes a day one starter.
It’s not clear as of yet where Charles Harris will line up. Cameron Wake holds down the left side of the line and the Dolphins’ Adam Gase made a point to express the fact he didn’t use Wake enough. Look for Wake to spend more time on the field in 2017.
On the other side of the defensive line is Andre Branch who signed a new contract shortly after the start of free agency. Branch played well in 2016 but the Dolphins believe he will make bigger improvements moving forward. While Branch is solid in pass rush, he lacks the clear ability to set the edge against the run and that is why the Dolphins brought in William Harris in a trade with the Rams.
Harris is one of the best defensive ends against the run in the NFL and he is in Miami on a short one year deal that could become a longer term contract after the season. So where does all this leave Harris?
On the outside looking in? Maybe but will be groomed to be the eventual replacement for Cameron Wake the Dolphins can’t afford to keep their first round draft pick on the sideline and they can’t afford not to use his pass rushing ability.
Harris will be a situational player in 2017 unless he can breakout in training camp and take over for Branch but that wouldn’t be a good thing for the Dolphins given the money that they paid Branch over the next few seasons.
Ideally Harris will be used to spell Wake and Branch allowing the Dolphins to keep fresh legs throughout the games and the season and this is where Harris could become a big impact for the Dolphins.
Harris has very good up field moves to get around offensive tackles and his ability to get to the quarterback could look really good on his stat sheet by the end of the season. With his potential to get to quarterbacks there is the added potential for forced turnovers as well.
The Dolphins love what they have seen on tape from Harris and they expect to see the same from him once pads are put on. Miami is deeper on the edge than they have been in the past but too much talent means not everyone gets the same amount of reps. Harris needs to take advantage of every opportunity.
Drafted for the future, Harris is looking to make an impact this year and even in situational play, he very well may. While his opportunities may not come as fast as other rookies, his abilities will make up for the lack of reps.