NFP Prospect Focus: Eli Harold

The University of Virginia has two underclassmen OLB/DE’s that have entered the draft. They are Eli  Harold and Max Valles. I will profile Valles, who is a top prospect in his own right, tomorrow. Today, we will look at Harold who is the better prospect of the two.
Eli Harold – OLB/DE – Virginia
Harold is a third-year junior and a two-year starter entering the draft. He is the right defensive end in the Virginia scheme and lines up both up and down. He has been very productive over the last two seasons with 31 tackles for loss and 15.5 sacks.
Looking at his frame, Harold has ideal 3-4 OLB measurables. At the combine he  was 6030 – 246, ran 4.61 and 4.53 in the 40 and had a vertical jump a 35″ as well as a standing long jump of 10’3″. His agility times were excellent also, timing 4.16 in the 20 yard shuttle and 7.07 in the 3-cone.
As a player, Harold has reacts quickly and has good instincts. He finds the ball and he makes plays. He shows strength at the point of attack and flashes the ability to set the edge. I say flashes, because he doesn’t do it on a consistent basis and, at times, can get over powered. Usually, this will happen when he is playing down.
He has good snap reaction to go along with a quick first step. He stays low and shows he can get penetration and disrupt the run. He is a good pursuit player who has the speed to chase plays down and takes good angles. On the negative side, while he flashes being able to shed quickly, there are times he can be slow off a block.
His best trait is pass rushing. He has very good initial quickness and shows he can beat his opponent with speed or moves. He has the speed and body flexibility to bend and get under his opponent when coming with speed. He also is good at faking an outside charge then coming back inside across the face of his opponent. He has quick hands and good overall hand use.
With 15.5 sacks over the last two seasons, Harold has very good sack production but he could and should have more. He gets a number of pressures and just needs to finish his pass rush a little better. He has the talent to be a double digit sack guy.
Harold is not used in coverage that often but he will occasionally drop. When he does, he gets depth and shows good receiver awareness. He has good ball reactions and shows he can plant and drive on the ball.
As good as Harold’s combine was, I doubt that he makes it in to the first round. Still, I see him going within the first 10 picks of the second round, and he should be a rookie starter. At his size, I don’t think that he is a good fit for the 4-3 teams, but the 3-4 clubs will be all over him. I’m sure Harold will be involved in a number of private workouts between now and draft day. A very interesting prospect who still has a lot of upside.
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