Miami Dolphins first-round pick Charles Harris is coming off a successful spring, during which he displayed an array of pass-rush moves and consistently got to the quarterback. But none of that matters unless the rookie defensive end can build on it with an equally impressive training camp and preseason.
Harris created a buzz as one of Miami’s consistent spring defensive standouts. He displayed a constant motor, quick first step and an ability to disrupt the quarterback during OTAs and minicamp. These were all attributes in Harris’ college scouting report and reasons why Miami took him No. 22 overall in the NFL draft.
However, Harris’ early success doesn’t guarantee anything for the regular season. He must continue to work hard and define his role in training camp.
“I feel like none of us can get to that level of complacency where we’re like, ‘OK, we finally got this down. I’ve got something down,’ ” Harris said. “I feel like even when it comes to my first step, I’ve noticed it’s not as efficient, as consistent, as some of the older guys, some of the vets — Cam Wake and stuff like that — but it’s something I have to work on every single day. It’s something you have to focus on each and every play.”
Harris’ battles with offensive lineman Laremy Tunsil, the Dolphins’ 2016 first-rounder, were fun to watch and a matchup to keep an eye on in training camp. Harris gave Tunsil issues at times with his speed coming off the corner. But that was without pads, and it will be interesting to see how much changes when the practices are full contact.
The Dolphins say they believe they have a younger version of Wake, 35, who is mentoring Harris this season and plans to bring him along as his backup.
“Physically, he’s very gifted,” Wake said of Harris. “He’s obviously explosive, aggressive, and obviously to play this position, there’s no other way that you can be successful unless you have those tools. He’s definitely got his foot in the right direction and obviously, again, we’re looking for more.”
Barring injury, Harris is expected to begin the season coming off the bench. There are areas he must work on to be an all-around defensive end, such as stopping the run. But Harris’ natural ability to rush the passer should offer an opportunity to make an immediate impact.