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NFL Draft 2015 Scouting Report: Eli Harold, Edge, Virginia

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Eli Harold is an outstanding athlete, but he's stuck in a deep class of pass rushers.

Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

    Position

    Edge (3-4 Outside Linebacker, 4-3 Defensive End)

    School

    Virginia

    Size

    6'4, 235 lbs

    Strengths

    Harold is an outstanding athlete.  He has nearly everything you want in a pass rusher -- length, burst and a neverending motor.  He's usually the first one off of the line of scrimmage, getting up to speed in a hurry.  He's a long strider with very quick feet.  He can change directions in an instant.  In the clip below, Harold (#7 on the near side of the line of scrimmage) works the tackle out wide then plants and crosses him up to the inside. 

    Harold's length allows him to win one on one matchups with blockers.  His frame allows him to work with his hands without getting too close to the blocker.  His athletic ability and burst allow him to build speed that he can then convert to power.  This is important because Harold isn't overly strong to begin with.  In the clip below, you can see Harold (off the far side of the line of scrimmage) get his hands into the chest of the opposing tackle.  This sends a jolt, throwing him off balance.

    Weaknesses

    Harold is going to get knocked during the process for being too light.  He's only 235 pounds, which is a legitimate concern.  This will likely limit him to a 3-4 team, placing him at the Outside Linebacker spot.

    Harold's main struggles come against the run.  He lacks an ability to anchor against blocks, likely because of a lack of lower body strength.  He struggles to disengage off of blocks once a blocker gets close to him.  When he can't use his length, Harold loses the leverage advantage. In the clip below, Harold (far side of the line of scrimmage) loses immediately at the point of attack and is easily turned inside, creating a lane off of the edge. Luckily the linebacker filled the gap behind him.  This is an isolated example, but his ability to set the edge has to improve.

    Summary

    Overall, Harold translates as a pass rushing specialist to start.  He'll need to hit the weight room and get stronger in his lower half to hold up against the run.  His burst and athletic ability are two God given talents that will translate immediately, however.  I'd peg him somewhere between picks 25-40 right now.

    Draft Projection

    Late 1st, early 2nd