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Charles Harris

Miami Dolphins trade DE Charles Harris to Atlanta Falcons for 7th round pick

After releasing veteran DE Taco Charlton on Thursday, the Miami Dolphins took the predictable next step and moved on from former first-round pick Charles Harris on Friday. According to NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero, GM Chris Grier actually managed to find a trade partner. In exchange for Charles Harris, the Dolphins will receive a 2021 seventh-round pick.

Considering Charles Harris has only 3.5 sacks throughout his entire three seasons with the Dolphins, it’s shocking the Falcons were willing to give up an asset for him. With that trade, Miami now has a total of 10 draft picks ready for the 2021 NFL Draft. Their extra first and second-rounders come from last year’s trade that sent Laremy Tunsil and Kenny Stills to the Houston Texans. The extra sixth-rounder comes from the Minkah Fitzpatrick trade to the Pittsburgh Steelers.

  • 1st Round – 2 picks
  • 2nd Round – 2 picks
  • 3rd Round – 1 pick
  • 4th Round – 1 pick
  • 5th Round – 1 pick
  • 6th Round – 2 picks
  • 7th Round – 1 pick

Harris’s departure is under the same circumstances as Taco Charlton’s. The Miami Dolphins have added a lot of talent at both defensive end and outside linebacker for their 3-4 defense. For different reasons, neither Charlton nor Harris were expected to contribute. Charlton is speculated as not being a “locker room guy,” while Harris was simply unproductive. Consequently, the door is open for the likes of Curtis Weaver, Jason Strowbridge, and Miami’s free agent haul to provide what Harris couldn’t.

All of a sudden, the Dolphins roster is now devoid of any of their hand-picked first-round talent from 2009-2018. The only one who remains is WR DeVante Parker, who recently signed a 4-year, $30 million dollar contract after a breakout season. However, while Harris will remain as a certified bust on Chris Grier’s resume, Grier deserves credit for not hanging on to hope for too long and cutting ties in a timely manner.

Now Miami can move forward with new, more scheme-fitting talent. In essence, the extra pick is icing on the cake that allows the Dolphins to continue building for the future.

Luis Sung has covered the Miami Dolphins for numerous outlets such as Dolphins Wire for seven years. Follow him on Twitter: @LuisDSung

Header for defense versatility

Miami Dolphins coaches using versatility to define defense

Consider the New England Patriots. One of the things that makes their defense so formidable is that opposing teams can never be sure what they’re facing. Is there a blitz? Why are there are so many defensive backs? Are the linebackers blitzing or in coverage? It’s through reputation alone that they’re considered good, even when they’re objectively bad. They put together personnel groupings that throw offenses for a loop, make them think twice about what they should do. The versatility of their players is a big part of what makes that defense tick.

And that’s exactly what head coach Brian Flores is stressing as he installs his defense.

“I would say first and foremost, it’s in the kicking game for really anyone on the team. If you make plays in the kicking game, you make a name for yourself in the kicking game here in this organization, that means a lot to me. If guys want to impress me, do it in the kicking game.” Flores said on Wednesday. “That’s where I started in college, that’s how I got on the field at Boston College. That’s how I broke into coaching in the National Football League from working with guys like Brad Seeley and then Scott O’Brien.

“It’s a very important phase of the game to me, so if a guy wants to impress on this team, do it there, carve out a role there, and then if you’re at the game for the kicking game, we’ll find something for you to do offensively or defensively. The players know that. I think everyone in the league should know that. That’s a spot where you can definitely carve out a role, and then, that’s how your reps increase. If you do a good job in the kicking game, you get more offensive or defensive snaps. If you do a good job with those snaps, we’ll give you more, and that’s how guys evolve and grow in this profession.”

Already, training camp has consisted of players lining up where they normally wouldn’t. Reshad Jones, T.J. McDonald and Minkah Fitzpatrick are getting linebacker snaps. Bobby McCain is turning himself into a safety. Defensive linemen are lining up out wide, inside, and everywhere in-between.

Is Miami running a 4-3, or a 3-4? Maybe a 4-2-5?

“I don’t even know what that is.” defensive coordinator Patrick Graham said on Thursday. “People ask us, (and we) say, ‘I don’t know.’ You look out there, we can be 1-10 if you want us to be. We’ll figure out something. If it works, we’ll do it.”

So nothing is off the books when it comes to what the defense will do on any given play. Matchups decide who’s on the field at any given moment. The more players adapt to what’s thrown at them, the more they will get to play. Even if they don’t project to start over someone else.

Of course, this puts a mental strain on the players. They have to overcome it.

“It’s not more so the attacking defenses that I’ve been in, in the 4-3 systems that I’ve been accustomed to.” said veteran DT Akeem Spence. “In this defense, you’ve got to really learn a lot. It’s more so learning about more spots than positions and learning a new technique and what Coach Flores wants and Patrick Graham want and trying to go out and execute and compete.”

“It’s all about discipline. The biggest thing is everybody’s got – I mean, the coaches are going to put you in the best position to make plays, and I think that’s the biggest thing I keep in mind.” said pass rusher Charles Harris. “The number count isn’t the most important thing. When that game ends and you’re winning, that’s all that really matters. Like I’ve said before, one of the biggest things that we’ve got, one of the quotes that we’ve got coming is ‘get over yourselves.’ If I’m not getting that many plays, it might not be a week. We might have different schemes for different teams and stuff like that. You really don’t know.”

The Dolphins’ first preseason game draws ever closer, and after Saturday’s faux scrimmage, things are only going to ramp up from here. But more importantly, everyone will get a chance to see what this team can do in real action. True, it’s only the preseason. But considering what the expectations are for this team, how they do against other teams evaluating their depth will be telling.