Throughout the 2017 NFL Draft process, you would be hard pressed to find a player mocked to the Dallas Cowboys more consistently than Missouri defensive end Charles Harris. The 22nd overall pick to the Miami Dolphins, Harris’ fit as the prototypical weak side rusher the Cowboys sorely lack was a clear one – so clear that the team considered trading up for his services, calling the Baltimore Ravens to inquire about their 16th overall selection.
Baltimore General Manager Ozzie Newsome is regarded as one of the best roster builders in the NFL, so picking behind him is always no easy task, as was trying to get the Ravens to trade away from Alabama defensive back Marlon Humphrey.
The Cowboys felt good about their chances of adding starting caliber talent to their secondary later in the draft, doing so with Chidobe Awuzie, Jourdan Lewis, Xavier Woods, and Marquez White. Dallas chose to still address the defensive line when the 28th overall pick came around, opting to take their highest graded player still available at DE in Michigan’s Taco Charlton.
Charles Harris’ name certainly had more buzz in the draft community, as Charlton’s became an afterthought in most final mocks. In Rod Marinelli’s scheme, I projected Harris and Charlton to dominantly play at two different spots – with Taco projecting best as a LDE.
Jason Garrett, who was another voice in the war room pulling for Taco Charlton, and the Cowboys seem to be excited about Charlton’s potential to develop as a right rusher and quickly show the upside that his frame, athletic testing, and flash plays on tape against top competition warrant.
None of this will stop Cowboys Nation from thinking about what could have been with “war daddy” edge rushers like Charles Harris and Takk McKinley being hyped up for months as potential future members of America’s Team – both being selected before the Cowboys had a chance to make this dream a reality.