When you’re drafted 22nd overall in the first round of the NFL draft, high expectations follow. And at the moment, the Miami Dolphins 2017 first round pick, defensive end Charles Harris, knows he needs to step up his game this year.
After accruing 117 tackles and 16 sacks in his final two years at Missouri, Harris has seen just 38 tackles and a measly three sacks in his first two professional seasons. And while a calf injury limited him the second half of the 2018 season, those numbers fall far below what the team and fans expected.
The Dolphins have purged their roster of older, aging veterans, leaving Harris as the veteran pass rusher on the roster. And with a defensive-minded head coach at the helm, bigger things are expected from Harris as the 2019 season gets underway.
“He’s got size, he’s got speed, he’s got athleticism,” says Dolphins head coach Brian Flores. “He plays hard, does a lot of things that we like as a staff. He’s an interesting player on our team. I’m excited to work with him.”
Harris has been tasked with working with the defensive backs during practices recently, alluding to the possibility that he’ll be asked to play as a standing linebacker at times in the new defensive scheme. That’s where he excelled in college, and he welcomes the chance to play in different spots.
“I’m trying to take it one day at a time,” he says.
Still just 24 years old, Harris has the chance this year to live up to his first-round pick expectations. Harris knows he has his work cut out for him, and while he’s working to learn everything he can about the new defense, he mentioned that former Dolphin Cam Wake stressed patience as an area where he most needs to improve.
And with Flores expected to unveil a multi-front defensive scheme, it will be interesting to see what Harris can accomplish. In his typical low-key fashion, Harris intends to just put his head down and go to work.
“I’m trying to get better every single day.”
This story was written by Eldon Jenson. Follow him on Twitter: @EJFootball
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