2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles: Missouri OLB Charles Harris

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We’re back again breaking down prospects for the 2017 NFL Draft, set to kick off on April 27th through the 29th. Our goal this season is to write reports on at least 150 players and hopefully, as many as 200. It will, of course, have a focus on Pittsburgh Steelers’ wants and needs but we will look big-picture too at the best players in this year’s draft.

If there’s a player you would like us to breakdown, let us know in the comments below.

Charles Harris/EDGE/Missouri — 6’3”, 255 Lbs

The Good:

-Explosive first step off the line
-Able to dip/bend around & underneath blocks while maintaining speed off edge
-Sets edge well against run due to penetration upfield
-Pro-ready spin move
-Able to play with hand in the dirt or standing up
-Comfortable rushing from either side of the line
-Great feel for how to set up blockers for pass rush moves
-Motor that runs hot, allowing him to chase down plays from backside
-Ideal frame and arm length for pass rusher
-Three years of experience as No. 1 pass rusher in SEC

The Bad:

-Struggles to wrap up in the open field
-Hesitant and flat-footed when defending read-option
-Has a hard time getting off of blocks against the run
-Limited leg power to hold up against the run in stalemate
-Will need to add a second pass rush move at next level
-Tends to pick sides against the run, opening up running lanes for offense
-Doesn’t seem to always have a plan when rushing the passer; freelances a lot

Bio:

-Played in 35 career games at Missouri
-Racked up 18 career sacks and 34.5 tackles for loss in three seasons to go along with five forced fumbles
-Played just one year of high school football before making his way to Missouri
-Focus was basketball in high school before trying football for senior season
-Named All-SEC Second Team in 2015 and All-SEC First Team in 2016
-Ranks seventh in program history in sacks and 11th in tackles for loss for career
-Never missed a game in Mizzou career

Tape Breakdown:

I’m starting to notice a trend over the last five years or so with Missouri football:  it’s become a serious factory for some of the top pass rushers in each draft class, starting with Sheldon Richardson in 2013 and continuing on with Markus Golden and Shane Ray in 2015 before now culminating with Charles Harris this season.

Every guy that has been a big name coming out of Missouri as a pass rusher has flourished in the NFL, and Harris will continue to roll on as another product of Pass Rusher U.

At 6’3’, 255 pounds, Harris is an absolute freak off the edge. Nearly unblockable the last two seasons as a starter for the Tigers, it’s about time we start recognizing Harris as a bonafide stud in this loaded edge class.

When it’s all said and done with Combine results and Pro Day numbers, Harris should be considered the No. 1 or No. 2 EDGE guy right up there with Myles Garrett and Tim Williams.

What makes Harris so tough to block is not only his terrific explosion off the ball at the snap; it’s his athleticism that really gives offensive tackles fits.

As a former basketball player, Harris honed his spin move in the post in high school, and over the last two years he’s been able to perfect the technique, setting up tackles for failure so often.

When he’s able to time it just right, it’s a thing of beauty.

At the snap Harris is able to get upfield quickly, forcing the tackle to get his drop as far back as he possibly can. By getting upfield as fast as he does, Harris is able to force the Florida left tackle to overextend his base, allowing Harris to hit him with the spin move.

Once the spin move is complete, Harris has a clean shot at Will Greier in the pocket.

Earlier in the 2015 season, Harris put together one of the most dominant edge performances I’ve seen in my five years of doing this. On the road against the Kentucky Wildcats, Harris simply took over on every single snap.

For some odd reason, Kentucky rarely (if ever) gave its left tackle any help against Harris, but when it did, well…just look for yourself.

He’s so aware of where the quarterback is in the pocket that he’s able to use his feel as a pass rusher to get into good position with one move before then finding the quarterback for the sack.

Against the Wildcats, Harris only finished with six tackles and 1.5 tackles for loss, but he was just simply incredible on every single snap, getting pressure and penetration into the backfield more often than not.

While Harris is renowned for his pass rushing prowess, he can really blow up some plays as a run defender, and he’s also got a great motor to track down ball carriers across the field from the backside.

 

The issue with Harris as a run defender though is that he often tries to pick sides against an offensive lineman, taking himself out of the hole, and he’s just not strong enough to withstand a push one-on-one against an offensive lineman in the running game.

On top of that, he struggles to get off block quickly to try and make plays near the line of scrimmage, but even when he does he has a hard time making the stop himself.

Harris does a great job of crossing the lineman’s face to blow up the trap, but once he gets a chance to bring down the ball carrier to complete the play he fails to wrap up and lets the UConn running back get to the line of scrimmage.

Despite playing football for just four years (five years if you want to count his redshirt season when he didn’t see the field), Harris is a guy that is going to be a serious problem at the next level.

When I watch his tape I can’t help but be reminded of former Tennessee and Philadelphia great Jevon Kearse, who had a similar build and burst to Harris coming out of Florida.

Right now I think Harris would be an ideal fit for the Pittsburgh Steelers off the edge, but with what he’s shown on tape and how I’m expecting him to test, I’m hard-pressed to see how Harris is still around at No. 30 overall.

Projection:  Mid Day 1

Games Watched:  at Arkansas State (’15), vs. UConn (’15) at Kentucky (’15), vs. Florida (’15), at Arkansas (’15), at West Virginia (’16), vs. Vanderbilt (’16)

Previous 2017 NFL Draft Player Profiles
Deshaun WatsonHaason ReddickMarshon LattimoreCorey ClementTim Williams
Jourdan LewisTakkarist McKinleyBrad KaayaNate PetermanOJ Howard

  • falconsaftey43

    Aldon Smith is another guy from that program. I’ve warmed up to Harris. I need to go watch that Kentucky game. I want to get a better feel for how he bends.

  • Thom

    Agreed! This guy is my favorite edge rusher so far, even higher than Garrett (though not as good against run).

  • Thom

    Add Kony Ealy to the list, too.

  • capehouse

    “Able to dip/bend around & underneath blocks while maintaining speed off edge”

    Are you sure? The last thing we need is another edge rusher that can’t do this. Spin moves and coverage sacks are great but I’d like to draft a player that can get pressure in the NFL.

  • WreckIess

    Probably my 2nd favorite option for us if Takk isn’t there.

  • Eric Wagers

    File him under the “Hope He Falls” category…

    As a Wisconsin alum, I’d love to see a T.J. Watt and/or Vince Biegel profile. Would be thrilled for the Steelers to grab one of them,

  • srdan

    Over Tim williams?

  • WreckIess

    Yup. And Anderson.

  • Steelers12

    great another player who struggles to tackle

  • falconsaftey43

    I REALLY like Watt. I think he might be my 2nd OLB right now behind Garrett.

  • He seems alright. Not “that” impressive. Maybe I’m missing something. I’ll have to go through and watch his film

  • Eric Wagers

    I’m obviously a bit biased as a Badgers fan, but watching him in their games this fall was similar to watching Deebo at his best: seemingly every pass play they’re either held or they pressure the QB.

  • Spencer Krick

    I’d be happy with Harris in the first round, looks like a solid pass rusher.

  • Aj Gentile

    That spin move is something else.

  • Nathanael Dory

    My favorite pas rusher this year

  • ATL96STEELER

    I’ve seen him play a few times…he’s got the goods to be pretty good at this level. If he has a good combine I don’t expect him to be there at 30.

    As deep as they say the edge rusher position is in this draft…I’m growing more pessimistic on landing an impact guy @ 30. At least 20 teams have a need for an edge rusher that won’t go QB….I’m resigned to a BPA pick that might not be an edge guy.

  • Dennis Nevinsky

    The way he may be available is that the following players may go before him. There are a couple TEs, many Ss and CBs that will go before him, a couple DT, 3 WRs,and maybe up to 3 QBs.
    Myles Garrett*
    Jonathan Allen
    Solomon Thomas*
    Derek Barnett*
    Takk Mckinley
    Taco Charlton

  • LucasY59

    agree, but think there is a good chance he might end up with the cowboys, and unless Tim Williams’ off field stuff makes him drop, he should be on that list as well

  • SkoolHouseRoxx

    OK, the first 3 gifs sold me. Where do I sign?

  • falconsaftey43

    I don’t really consider Allen or Thomas as edge rushers 34 OLB candidates. Much more 3-technique interior rushers IMO.

  • LucasY59

    I totally agree McKinley is the 1st option, after than I am still deciding between Harris and Watt (wont decide till after the combine) Lawson maybe after that, but definitely think they are dropping into the 2nd tier level with him, and think there will be a better BPA at another position

  • LucasY59

    I think that is why he put a * by them, they will go early to a 4-3 team (or any team needing pass rusher that doesn’t necessarily need a OLB) still pushes a lower ranked guy to the Steelers if they are picked before #30

  • Ike Evans

    Lol

  • Ike Evans

    Yes…..not close in my opinion

  • Ike Evans

    Then this is not the draft for u at the top

  • Ike Evans

    Nobody but garrett and barnett are better then kid…..you hit the nail on the head this evaluation

  • LucasY59

    I think Harris is a possibility for the Steelers (IF he is available) but I am still sticking with McKinley as my #1 OLB candidate for the Steelers (*he might not be available either)

    I really want to see how the group of pass rushers do at the combine, thinking some will do well and separate the tier 1 talents from the tier 2, right now the group of about 15 edge rushers is kinda undecided on rankings after about the top 3, so like I said 3-4 should solidify the 1st rd prospects and the remaining guys will fall into rd 2, and some might even drop to 3 (or later?)

    usually I would be sold on Harris by his production and experience, but after Jarvis and Bud (as well as what Shazier has done by proving that Elite physical talent can be a better indicator of becoming a good NFL player *and to a lesser degree Burns from last yr) I have started to look at guys with great measurables and enough college production to see good potential (Dupree) than good college production and less than avg measurables (Jones) so I am holding my final verdict on Harris until I see what he does in Indy (he could become the #1 candidate, but that would make him less likely to be available)

  • steelers_26

    How does he look in space ?

  • steelers_26

    Ive seen him kind of dip and rip and showing some bend against Georgia.

  • WreckIess

    I can’t get a good feel for Watt. I can’t tell if I like him more because he’s JJ’s brother or if I’m letting the fact that he’s not even close to him affect me.

  • capehouse

    Just watched the Florida cut-up and there’s no dip/bend around the edge in this guys game. Think I noticed him try it twice and the 1st time failed miserably and the 2nd time he used his spin move instead of converting speed to power. Spin move is his go-to, but those rarely translate in the NFL. It looked pretty when he used the spin as a counter off an inside swim. Looks like a great athlete but we already have that with Dupree.

  • LucasY59

    kinda agree, waiting for the combine to help me decide

  • Ike Evans

    Then this isnt the draft youll like….nobody at the top of the draft besides myles and derek barnett is more bendy then him

  • Josh Carney

    Thank you, Ike. Appreciate it. He’s my draft crush this year.

  • Josh Carney

    Watch the Vandy game and you’ll see the dip and bend. I was limited to clips I could use but he was amazing off the edge against Arkansas State, Kentucky, Vandy and Florida. Guy is an exceptional athlete.

  • Jon Crissinger

    TJ Watt has a pretty great dip. And Reddick does a great job at flattening after he gets up the arc.

  • Ike Evans

    Tj watt isnt going at the top of the draft so i wasnt talkin about him….doubt he even goes second round unless he blows up the combine
    And as far as reddick goes yall need to give it up with him playing on the outside…even anthony barr got moved off the ball

  • capehouse

    Thanks. I just didn’t see the ability to convert speed to power in the ’15 games but you can definitely notice a difference in ’16 game against Vandy. I agree he’s an exceptional athlete but not totally convinced he can bend the edge in the NFL. That spin move is nice just not sure it’s gonna work against NFL Tackles.

  • Jon Crissinger

    He’s a 4-3 DE in college. Anthony Barr was a LB in college and has been a LB in the 4-3 the whole time… I don’t understand the comparison?

  • Ike Evans

    What are you talkin about? Barr was a 3-4 olb playing on the EDGE rushing the passer….not an off the ball linebacker like he plays now

  • Jon Crissinger

    Mike Zimmer runs a 3-4? Wow, learn something new everyday. Weird scheme when you have 2 DTs and 2 DEs. Idk I guess I just can’t count

  • Ike Evans

    Ucla ran a 3-4

  • Jon Crissinger

    Is a 3-4 outside linebacker not a LB? I said he was a linebacker in college and has only been a linebacker in the 4-3 in the NFL. He was never an edge player for Minnesota

  • Ike Evans

    This is dumbest conversation ive ever had in these comments……..

  • Jon Crissinger

    Yeah, well I’m just saying Barr has only played off ball in the NFL. He was a linebacker and college not a 4-3 DE like Reddick. If that wasn’t clear, my bad. I always thought Barr was better suited for 4-3. Reddick, I believe is a good enough edge guy. Not that he wouldn’t be successful off ball in much the same way Barr is, but that I disagree that he is only an off ball LB

  • Steel City Slim

    He’s at the top of my list out of all of the edge rushers that the Steelers have a reasonable chance of drafting in round 1. Also like Lawson and McKinley in round 1, not a big fan of Williams though, he reminds me of Jarvis Jones too much. Hopefully we double dip on pass rushers. Would also like to add someone like Ejuan Price or Dawaune Smoot, who incidentally went to the same high school as Le’Veon Bell.

  • His spin move is actually a bit generic. In the first two gifs he doesn’t shift/change direction at all really. He pretty much spins into his man and somehow ends up near the ball. Watch Timmons do a spin move and you’ll see what I mean by a change of direction. Still, he does look somewhat impressive, definitely like his motor as he seems willing. He does look like a guy that can be coached

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Actually like Lawson a lot but not a fan of McKinley but your double dip guys are 2 guys I like us to target as well. I like Smoot a whole lot and prefer him but I think Price in the 5-6 round is a guy we can get behind….highly athletic and looks like this years Travis Feeney.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    The tape I saw on him he didn’t impress me as a 1st rounder but I have been wrong before however I still pass on him.

  • Steel City Slim

    There’s also a guy from Kent State named Terence Waugh that I hope they take a look at, 6’1″ 262, was a beast on the field for the Flashes. Probably be an undrafted guy, but I’m pretty sure the Steelers will have no problem giving an undrafted linebacker from Kent State a chance.

  • Shannon Stephenson

    Have to check him out….haven’t seen him and excited to see what he is about .