2017 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Charles Harris
By Charlie Campbell
Summary: In recent years, Missouri has been a factory for defensive line talent. With Sheldon Richardson, Kony Ealy, Markus Golden and Shane Ray, the Tigers have produced dangerous pass-rushers with special speed and athleticism. Harris will keep the tradition alive in 2017 after two impressive seasons in the SEC.
With Golden and Ray off to the NFL for 2015, Missouri enjoyed a breakout season for Harris. The redshirt sophomore totaled 56 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and two forced fumbles. He was a disruptive presence in the backfield and played well against good competition. In 2016, Harris saw extra blocking attention and teams went away from him. However, he still totaled 61 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, two passes batted and two forced fumbles in his final season at Missouri.
Harris is a dynamic edge-rushing talent for the passing-driven NFL who could be a No. 1 feature pass-rusher to lead a defense. He has double-digit sack potential as a pro, and it wouldn't be surprising if he is Pro Bowl contender during his rookie contract.
For the ground game, Harris needs to get stronger for the NFL. He could have issues holding his gap against physical downhill rushing attacks. It might be a good idea to protect from some of those matchups early in his career and start him out as a situational pass-rusher while he improves his strength and run defense.
In the pass rush, Harris is a fast edge rusher with a fantastic first-step. He quickly gets penetration into the backfield and shows a nice ability to finish off plays. Harris is a fast edge rusher who can burn tackles with pure speed around the corner. Not only is his speed dangerous, but Harris shows some good moves with an excellent spin move back to the inside. He has some speed to power skills with the ability to fight offensive tackles. Harris has some functional strength for the pass rush and shows quality read-and-react skills.
Here's how one top scout broke down Harris: "I think he's the second-purest pass-rusher in this draft after Myles Garrett. Harris is bigger and stouter than Tim Williams or Takk McKinley. Different guy than Myles or Taco, but after Myles, Harris the most natural 4-3 open defensive end. He always carries low pads, explosive springs (loose ankles/hips), great bend and corner cut, easy accelerator, explosive short burst and frenetic energy. Explosive but sound hands. Teams deliberately went away from him with the ball this season on tape, as much as anyone other than Myles. I just think if Taco goes between 8-14, Harris is going to go fast after."
For the NFL, Harris would be an excellent fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker. He has a good body type for that. He could remain a 4-3 defensive end, but he could have problems in run defense in that scheme against certain opponents.
Player Comparison: Melvin Ingram Harris reminds me of Ingram in that they are both very athletic and dangerously fast edge rushers. Harris is virtually the same size as Ingram (6-2, 247). Ingram is an excellent fit in a 3-4 defense as an outside linebacker, and Harris could be similar. Ingram was selected by the Chargers with the 18th-overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft, and Harris could go in that same range this year.
NFL Matches: New Orleans, Indianapolis, Baltimore, Washington, Detroit, Miami, Dallas, Green Bay, Pittsburgh and Atlanta
There are a lot of potential fits for Harris in the first round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Just after the top 10, the Saints have to upgrade their defense and improve their pass defense. They need an edge rusher across from Cam Jordan, and it sounds like their preference is to add a pass-rusher first with secondary help to follow. Harris could be in play for New Orleans with the 11th-overall pick.
Indianapolis needs help all over its defense, and Harris would be an instant upgrade. John Simon and Jabaal Sheard are more complementary pass-rushers, so Harris would give the Colts a lead dog.
The Ravens need more pass rush after cutting Elvis Dumervil. Harris would make sense for Baltimore.
The Redskins want to get younger and more athletic up front. Harris would be able to be an outside linebacker for Washington.
Among the playoff teams, Harris shouldn't fall out of the 20s. The Lions could use defensive line help. Harris could upgrade their edge rush across from Ziggy Ansah. Miami could use a young defensive end since they cut Mario Williams and still have an aging Cameron Wake.
Dallas is in search of a "war daddy" pass-rusher as Jerry Jones stated. The Cowboys would be fortunate if Harris fell to them, and it would be surprising if they passed on him. The Packers brought back Nick Perry, but still could use a pass-rusher to replace Julius Peppers.
James Harrison can't play forever for the Steelers, and they need a pass-rusher to pair with Bud Dupree in the long run. Atlanta also could use an edge rusher across from T.J. Watt.
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