Off a breakthrough season in 2021, Charles Harris has been tabbed as the most underrated Lion by Pro Football Focus.
Close to being declared a first-round draft pick bust if he wasn’t there already, Charles Harris signed a one-year deal with the Detroit Lions in 2021. Then he delivered a career-best season, with 61 total tackles (10 tackles for loss), 7.5 sacks and 34 quarterback pressures (according to Pro Football Reference). If not for him, Detroit’s pass rush would have been far worse than it even was.
The Lions brought Harris back this offseason on a two-year, $14 million deal. A defensive scheme shift to more four-man fronts, would seem to suit him well. Without the responsibility to drop into coverage like a 3-4 outside linebacker would, Harris will theoretically be able to reek havoc in opposing backfields more.
Pro Football Focus analyst Brad Spielberger tabbed Harris’ contract as one of the best values in free agency across the league earlier in the offseason. So on the site’s list citing the most underrated player on each NFL team, created by Sam Monson, it’s not really a big surprise Harris was the guy for the Lions.
Charles Harris heading into an important season
Here’s what Monson wrote on Harris:
Once a former first-round pick starts being labeled a bust, it’s very difficult for them to get recognized for the player they may ultimately become down the line. Harris was the No. 22 pick overall for Miami in 2017 and notched just three sacks for the Dolphins. For Detroit in 2021, however, Harris tallied eight sacks, 52 pressures and a 78.7 PFF pass-rushing grade in a career year. If that’s the player Harris has become for the Lions, he’s far better than the one lingering in people’s perception right now.
Monson hinted at the idea Harris has to prove 2021 was not a flash in the pan season, on a prove-it deal with what was a bad team and with his NFL career truly on the ropes. He may simply have finally found the right all-around system to work in with Detroit, and thrived.
Now Harris has to produce again in 2022, in a better situation than his first season as a Lion. If he does, then he’ll start to move off anyone’s list of underrated players.