Monday Morning Draft is back! This is a column that delves into the past weekend’s action from an NFL Draft perspective. As the season goes on, the draft picture and slotting will become more clear, but every Sunday will provide a few hints for next April.
By Charlie Campbell.
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Play like Shizer for Kizer:
Congratulations to the Cleveland Browns for securing the No. 1-overall pick in the 2017 NFL Draft. The Browns went to overtime, but lost to the Steelers to finish 1-15 on the season, narrowly edging out the San Francisco 49ers for the first pick in the 2017 NFL Draft.
Obviously, Cleveland has a huge rebuilding process, and it all starts with finding a future franchise quarterback. Perhaps the Browns won’t blow it like they did last spring when they passed on Carson Wentz, but with a baseball general manager running the Browns, you can’t have any confidence that the franchise has the people in place to get it right. After all, the organization and coaching staff preferred blooming bust Jared Goff to the impressive Wentz.
Let’s Play Matchmaker:
This section will look at some of the top talent in college football and match those prospects up with teams that have a dire need at the position.
Atlanta Falcons: Charles Harris, DE, Missouri
The Falcons need an edge rusher to pair with Vic Beasley. That was apparent as they couldn’t place enough pass rush on Tom Brady to protect their Super Bowl lead. Dwight Freeney and Courtney Upshaw notched sacks, but they weren’t consistent enough with their rushes to keep Brady from ripping the ball through the Atlanta defense.
Harris totaled 61 tackles, 12 tackles for a loss, nine sacks, two passes batted and two forced fumbles in 2016. After a slow start to season, Harris got hot and started producing some sacks in bunches. He saw extra blocking attention, but still found a way to get after the quarterback. The previous year, Harris had a breakout performance replacing Shane Ray. Harris totaled 56 tackles, 18.5 tackles for a loss, seven sacks and two forced fumbles on the year.
What Harris does the best is get after the quarterback. He is a fast edge rusher with a fantastic first-step. He quickly penetrates into the backfield and shows a nice ability to finish off plays. Harris is a fast edge rusher who can burn tackles with pure speed around the corner. Not only is his speed dangerous, but Harris shows some good moves with an excellent spin move back to the inside. He has some speed-to-power skills with the ability to fight offensive tackles. Harris has some functional strength for the pass rush and shows quality read-and-react skills. He could form a lethal tandem with Vic Beasley. Perhaps another edge rusher will be enough to push Atlanta over the top.
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