The Pittsburgh Steelers need a pass rusher. There is no other way around it. With Jarvis Jones likely to be allowed to test free agency in March, and James Harrison preparing to turn 39 years-old, the Steelers are thin at the pass rush position.
Bud Dupree has the look of a player ready to turn the corner, no pun intended, but he needs someone on the opposite side to compliment him. In 2016 it was Harrison who was drawing attention away from Dupree, but the Steelers can’t bank on Harrison being able to play a full season in 2017-2018.
In other words, they need to bring in some help, and in this case, it would come through the 2017 NFL Draft. The Steelers have the 30th selection in the upcoming selection process, and the edge rusher class is one of the best, and deepest, groups in recent memory.
It should come as no surprise that many analysts are projecting the Steelers to take an outside linebacker in the first round. A name which has been popping up with regularity is Chris Harris, the edge rusher from Missouri, and ESPN’s Todd McShay likes Harris wearing a different kind of black and gold next season in the Steel City.
See what he had to say about the pick.
Charles Harris, OLB, Missouri
Harris is a twitchy, high-energy player who brings some versatility to the table. He led the SEC with 18.5 tackles for loss in 2015, and he had 16 sacks the past two seasons. He's not a finished product, but Harris has a lot of nice tools and profiles as a fringe first-rounder.
If this prognostication comes true, the Steelers would be banking on Harris to be an impact player from Day 1. That doesn’t mean they expect him to start, but to make an impact.
Harris is still fairly new to the sport of football. He didn’t start playing until his Junior year in High School, but translated that into a trip to Missouri to play in the SEC.
Take a look at some his strengths and weakness, per his NFL.com Scouting Profile:
Long legs with well defined bubble. Has loose, fluid hips. Explodes out of his stance in search of gap work vs. run game. Lateral quickness makes it a challenge to reach him or cross his face for offensive linemen. Good first step quickness. Plays with energy and keeps it cranked up until the whistle blows. Runs with high knees and athletic, long strides in the open field. Basketball standout in high school who uses nimble feet for an effective spin move. Can unleash spin counter in either direction. Plays on either side of the line and can play with a hand down or standing up. In 2015, led team in sacks, tackles for losses and hurries and was second in tackles. Uses early speed-to-power to create movement before attacking the tackle's inside shoulder. Showed some ability to drop in space when called upon.
Found himself too easily engulfed by size this season. Gives ground on the edge and can be widened out of his run fit. Hands must get better at point of attack. Needs to punch and own the point. Rides on blocks rather than shucks them. Lacks desired glass-chewing mentality against the run. Plays with slow reaction time to counters and misdirection and can lose track of the ball. Needs earlier shoulder turn as rusher to prevent early pass sets from punching him as squared-up rusher. Slow to activate his counter spin back inside. More violent approach with hands at top of his rush would help grease the edge. Productivity dropped after struggling with new defensive scheme.