NFL draft profile: No. 26 — Missouri DE Charles Harris, lethal spin move but questions vs. run

Missouri DE Charles Harris
6-foot-3, 254 pounds

Key stat: Tied for seventh in Mizzou history with 18 career sacks and 11th with 34.5 career tackles for loss in three seasons, two as primary starter.

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Mizzou DE Charles Harris is still raw but flashes fascinating potential. (AP)
Mizzou DE Charles Harris is still raw but flashes fascinating potential. (AP)

The skinny: Late bloomer only started playing football as high school junior. Was a two-star prospect but caught the eye of noted former Mizzou DL coach (now with Miami) Craig Kuligowski. After redshirting in 2013, Harris emerged as the next in line of special defensive line talents at the school following the departure of Kony Ealy, Michael Sam, Shane Ray and Markus Golden with breakout sophomore season in 2015. Harris had 19 tackles for loss and seven sacks in 2015 and followed it up with 12 tackles for loss and nine sacks (on a less-talented defense and with more blocking attention) in 2016.

Harris declared early for the 2017 NFL draft and will be 22 years old this season.

Best-suited destination: Harris has experience playing as a 4-3 rush end but has worked on both sides of the line and played multiple techniques. He also dropped in coverage ably, so we believe he also could fit as a 3-4 outside linebacker. That likely means he’d be a hit in almost any system, but we think Harris is best as a weakside pass rusher. We could see him fitting in well with the Atlanta Falcons, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, New Orleans Saints, San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, Philadelphia Eagles, Indianapolis Colts, Green Bay Packers and Los Angeles Rams.

Upside: Has clear edge-bending burst and balance. Can ride offensive tackles upfield and cross their face with ease. Has a devastating spin move he unleashes smartly. Whips off the snap and can get offensive linemen jumpy and reactive. Can give taller tackles fits with how low he gets. Check out Harris dipping underneath Vanderbilt left tackle Will Holden, a mid-round 2017 prospect, and flattening quickly for the third-down sack before the quarterback gets a chance to even go through his progression:

Missouri DE Charles Harris flashes his edge speed vs. Vanderbilt. (Draftbreakdown.com, via YouTube)
Missouri DE Charles Harris flashes his edge speed vs. Vanderbilt. (Draftbreakdown.com, via YouTube)

Here’s the all-22 view of Harris closing fast on the same play:

Another view of how quickly Harris can bend the edge. (Draftbreakdown.com, via YouTube)
Another view of how quickly Harris can bend the edge. (Draftbreakdown.com, via YouTube)

Wins with speed and can impact games even when he’s not getting sacks. Pressure comes in waves and can take over games. High-energy player with passion who appears to care about football. Doesn’t give up on plays. Light feet and ability to handle misdirection and make plays from the backside. Hands are excellent — can slap away blocks, create leverage and disengage before linemen get locked in. Is only getting started. Has a terrific foundation on which to build with patient NFL coaching staff willing to develop him. Comes from program that has been a DL factory in recent years.

Downside: Can get washed out against the run. Needs to keep adding strength and might not be instant coffee in the NFL. Might be a bit of a one-trick pony in the NFL as a rusher. If stronger offensive tackles get their hands inside, it’s often over. Has kicked down inside but might not be able to do that in the NFL, even in passing situations, with lack of bulk. Scouting combine workouts were very underwhelming, even though he performed better at his pro day. Butted heads with coaching staff in 2016 with scheme adjustment that had him playing out of his comfort zone and openly complained about it to the media. Not considered a character concern, but NFL teams have done background work to find out how good a teammate he was. Got worked over against LSU and appeared to let emotions get best of him, getting kicked out of the game in final minutes.

Scouting hot take: “He finished strong. Early in the season he looked to be fighting the scheme a little. He’s a little hot and cold for me. But you can see him turn the corner, and [that spin move] is legit. He just needs to keep adding tools to his tool belt. I think he can be a good player in this league.” — NFC scout (and former defensive lineman)

Player comp: Chandler Jones

Expected draft range: Top 40 picks

Previous profiles

Nos. 51-100: Here’s who just missed the cut
No. 50: Indiana OG-C Dan Feeney
No. 49: Iowa DB Desmond King
No. 48: Vanderbilt LB Zach Cunningham
No. 47: Wisconsin pass rusher T.J. Watt
No. 46. Alabama pass rusher Tim Williams
No. 45. Washington CB Sidney Jones
No. 44. Alabama LB Ryan Anderson
No. 43. Ohio State WR-RB Curtis Samuel
No. 42. Florida DT Caleb Brantley
No. 41. Connecticut DB Obi Melifonwu
No. 40. USC CB-KR Adoree’ Jackson
No. 39. Texas Tech QB Patrick Mahomes
No. 38. Michigan State DL Malik McDowell
No. 37: Ole Miss TE Evan Engram
No. 36: Florida LB Jarrad Davis
No. 35: Washington S Budda Baker
No. 34: Oklahoma RB Joe Mixon
No. 33: Alabama CB Marlon Humphrey
No. 32: Florida CB Quincy Wilson
No. 31: Tennessee RB Alvin Kamara
No. 30: Michigan DB-RS Jabrill Peppers
No. 29: Alabama OT Cam Robinson
No. 28: Notre Dame QB DeShone Kizer
No. 27: LSU CB Tre’Davious White

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Eric Edholm is a writer for Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at edholm@yahoo-inc.com or follow him on Twitter!

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