Campus Corner

NFL Draft analysts expect Charles Harris’ dream will come true tonight

Missouri defensive end Charles Harris.
Missouri defensive end Charles Harris. The Associated Press

There is never a shortage of NFL teams that need pass-rushing help.

Quarterback is the most important position in the modern NFL, which means a guy who can harass the quarterback is the most important for an opposing defense.

Texas A&M defensive end Myles Garrett has long been projected as the No. 1 overall in the 2017 NFL Draft, but it’s a deep and talented class for edge rushers.

One of the best of the bunch is Missouri’s Charles Harris.

Unheralded out of Lincoln Prep High in Kansas City, Harris’ work ethic propelled him to a starting and starring role the last two seasons with the Tigers.

He’s got an intensity about that can’t be taught, a chip on his shoulder the size of Uluru, and a hunger to flourish and prove wrong any and all doubters — even if he has to invent them as a target for that white-hot internal fire.

Harris’ trademark spin move is coming to an NFL stadium near you on Sundays next fall after he opted to leave Mizzou early and forego his senior season.

It was absolutely the right move for Harris — who was a second-team All-SEC performer in 2015 after racking up 56 tackles with 18  1/2 for a loss and seven sacks.

First-year coach Barry Odom’s decision to install a read-and-react defensive scheme neutered Harris early in the 2016 season, forcing him to two-gap on the edge.

That tamped down Harris’ productivity by rendering his speed and athleticism void on most plays, at least with respect to getting after the quarterback.

Once Missouri reverted to its old ways, focusing again on creating disruption with its vaunted D-Line Zou, Harris went on to finish with team-highs of nine sacks and 12 tackles for a loss.

He even actually finished with more tackles (61) than his sophomore season, a testament to Harris’ motor and effectiveness against the run.

Still, that’s not what Harris, who has the versatility to play as a 4-3 end with his hand on the ground or a 3-4 stand-up rush linebacker at the next level, will be getting paid millions of dollars to do in the coming months and years.

It’s all about getting after that quarterback.

Charles Harris draft projections

Terez Paylor, The Kansas City Star: Washington, No. 17 overall

Mike Mayock, NFL.com: New Orleans, No. 11 overall

Daniel Jeremiah, NFL.com and SB Nation: Indianapolis, No. 15 overall

DraftSite and Maurice Jones-Drew, NFL.com: Baltimore, No. 16 overall

ESPN NFL Nation and Walter Football: Washington, No. 17 overall

Charley Casserly, NFL.com: Tennessee, No. 18 overall

Pete Prisco, CBS Sports: Detroit, No. 21 overall

Will Brinson, CBS Sports: Miami, No. 22 overall

Mel Kiper Jr., ESPN: New York Giants, No. 23 overall

Chris Simms, Bleacher Report: Oakland, No. 24 overall

Rob Rang, CBS Sports, Dan Brugler, CBS Sports, and Ryan Wilson, CBS Sports and Lance Zierlein, NFL.com, and Bucky Brooks, NFL.com: Dallas, No. 28 overall

Todd McShay, ESPN: Green Bay, No. 29 overall

Jared Dubin, CBS Sports: Atlanta, No. 31 overall

Charles Harris watch party

Former Lincoln Prep star Charles Harris will be back at his old school for a NFL Draft watch party, which begins at 6 p.m. on Thursday in the auditorium at Lincoln Prep, 2111 Woodland Ave. Harris, who graduated from Lincoln Prep in 2013, said in a news release that the watch party was an opportunity for him “to show his gratitude for the individuals who supported him through many years of hard work to reach this point.”

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