Charles Harris gives the Dolphins another option at linebacker

COLUMBIA , MO - SEPTEMBER 20: Running back D'Angelo Roberts
COLUMBIA , MO - SEPTEMBER 20: Running back D'Angelo Roberts /

The Miami Dolphins linebacker corps has been getting attention in Training Camp for all of the wrong reasons. With the retirement of Koa Misi and the season ending knee injury to rookie Raekwon McMillan, the Dolphins have to realign the position group.

Charles Harris was selected by the Dolphins in the first round to solidify the pass rush and hopefully be the heir apparent to Cameron Wake. Harris played 3-4 outside linebacker at the University of Missouri but was mainly known for his pass rushing ability, tallying an SEC leading 18.5 tackles for loss including seven sacks.

Mike Hull has stepped up and is now projected to be the starting middle linebacker, with Lawrence Timmons and Kiko Alonso on the outside. Harris is currently second on the depth chart at defensive end behind Andre Branch.

Harris is an extremely proficient pass rusher with an excellent first step, and he possesses a spin move that has already become a major weapon in his arsenal. Where Harris struggles is against the run, as this scouting report from Pro Football Focus points out.

"Was overpowered by opposing offensive tackles at times. Big part of the reason why his run defense grade ranked tied for 163 among edge defenders in 2016."

Harris is on the small size for a defensive end, being listed at 6’3″ and 250 pounds. Naturally Miami envisions him as a pass rush specialist and they were obviously aware that he needed improvement versus the run. With strength and conditioning Harris can add size and will surely improve technique against the run with coaching and reps.

Where Harris may be of use is as a situational linebacker, allowing William Hayes to rotate in on earlier downs and get involved stopping the run. The Dolphins could even drop Harris in coverage from the outside backer spot on occasion. In fact Harris showed great promise in coverage drills at the NFL Combine as reported in Sports Illustrated.

"The combine was a mixed bag for Harris, but he was brilliant in linebacker coverage drills. He covers a lot of ground with his stride, and he has natural movements dropping and turning. Harris showed a decent baseline when asked to drop at Missouri."

Next: Dolphins to work out LB Rey Maualuga

Right now the Dolphins must take stock of the linebackers they have and put together a solid rotation. They have even contacted former Bengals linebacker Rey Maualuga to workout for the team. Maualaga is known as a run stopper and at age 30 can bring in veteran leadership and competition at the very least. Harris will likely be used as a pass rush specialist, but given his versatility Matt Burke and his defensive coaches may also have other ways to use him.