Charles Harris is aware of the early comparisons. Not long after the Miami Dolphins selected Harris in the first round of the NFL draft nearly two weeks ago, some called him a younger version of Cameron Wake.
Indeed, Harris’ game has several similarities to Wake’s. The Missouri product was a dominant pass-rusher in college with a quick first step, and he needs to improve against the run. That has basically been Wake’s scouting report for much of his career.
Down the road, the Dolphins are counting on Harris to eventually take the mantle from Wake, 35, as the team’s top pass-rush specialist. But this year the rookie plans to learn all he can from the five-time Pro Bowler.
Harris wore No. 91 in college, same as Wake’s with the Dolphins. So the rookie had to change his number to 90, which he has never worn before.
Harris will have time to develop in Miami. The Dolphins drafted him as the best available player on their board, but he will enter organized team activities later this month as the fourth defensive end on the depth chart. Miami hasn’t committed to Harris’ role at this point. But it likely will come as a sub player on passing downs, enabling Harris to get 15-20 snaps per game.
Harris also has the flexibility and athleticism to play snaps at outside linebacker, if needed.
Wake entered the league in a different manner than Harris. Wake was undrafted out of Penn State and had to dominate in the CFL to get NFL scouts’ attention. The Dolphins signed Wake in 2009, and in the time since then, he has more sacks (81.5) than any Miami player in that span.