Character still matters in the NFL.
At least it does to the Miami Dolphins.
When they went on the clock Thursday night, two very talented players were still on the board, largely because of personal red flags: Ohio State cornerback Gareon Conley and Alabama linebacker Reuben Foster.
The Dolphins passed on both.
“Great character guy,” a high-level Dolphins employee said as he left the training facility just before midnight Thursday. “Also a really good player. It made it easy on all of us.”
The Dolphins didn’t spend much time with Harris. They didn’t feel they needed to. He checked the most important box.
“This guy loves football,” general manager Chris Grier said. “It's very important to him.”
In short, he’s the anti-Dion Jordan, the last edge rusher selected by the Dolphins in Round 1.
But don’t just take Grier’s word for it.
Harris made the case himself, speaking to reporters just after the Dolphins took him.
“At the end of the day, it’s about what you’ve got in your heart,” Harris said. “That’s what I’ve got. I’ve got heart. I’ve got a drive that’s nasty. I’m just trying to ball at the end of the day. I’m going to get to the quarterback without a doubt.”
Harris, when asked about playing alongside (and someday succeeding) Cameron Wake, struck the perfect tone:
“It means everything, to be able to come in and learn from him. I’m just coming in with a humble attitude, willing to work, willing to take coaching from any and everybody. It’s everything. He’s a great player, and I’m going to learn. At the end of the day, I’m hungry for knowledge. I’m hungry for … I’m hungry to get better at the end of the day.”