2015 NFL Draft Profile: LB Eli Harold


Oct 25, 2014; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers defensive end

Eli Harold

(7) stands on the field against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Time to look at another potential member of the New York Jets, courtesy of the NFL draft.

The Jets are hosting many of the top edge pass rushers for visits, as we noted. Specifically, they are using 20% of their 30 visits to talk to pass rushers that can get after the quarterback. This player is one of those guys coming in to visit with the Jets, pre-draft. Mel Kiper believes this player would be a good fit in the second round of the draft.

Today, we are going to take a look at Eli Harold, LB from Virginia.

Next: College Career

Sep 13, 2014; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers defensive end Eli Harold (7) celebrates on the field against the Louisville Cardinals in the second quarter at Scott Stadium. The Cavaliers won 23-21. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

As always, we start with the statistics. Here is a look at how Harold performed at the University of Virginia:

Defense & Fumbles

Eli Harold was a prolific tackler at Virginia, and did a great deal of it in the backfield.  Over one quarter of his tackles were for losses, 25.8% to be exact.  Without even looking at the film, this tells us that Eli Harold is a guy that can find the ball carrier.

How did the Combine go?

Next: NFL Combine

Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Virginia defensive lineman Eli Harold talks to the media at the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

The the combine, Harold ran the forty yard dash in 4.6 seconds, which is admittedly good, but not great. He performed the “Three Cone Drill” in 7.07 seconds, posted a 35″ vertical jump, and an 10’3″ broad jump. Here are his strengths and weaknesses, courtesy of Dane Brugler and his recently released draft guide:

STRENGTHS: Quick starter out of his stance with burst and long-striding acceleration…launches himself out of the three point stance, getting upfield easily with leverage and natural dip to turn the corner or curl his shoulder without slowing his momentum…active and fast in pursuit with improved run awareness to track the ball…nice job re-setting his eyes after his initial rush doesn’t work, adjusting quickly to the ball…quick feet to sidestep blockers, doing a nice job with secondary moves…attacks blockers with his length to lock out and occasionally put them on skates…athletic and cut physique with NFL length…alert, hyperactive play style…plays with a competitive fire in his belly and nonstop motor on the field, always going full speed until the whistle…worked hard in the weight room to mature physically, adding 30-35 pounds since high school…experienced lining up in two and three point stance…started every game the past two seasons and leaves Virginia ranked top-10 in school history with 36.5 tackles for loss.

WEAKNESSES: Lanky frame and needs to continue and develop his upper and lower body strength…tends to rush too upright and needs to show more consistent bend…average functional power and needs to better avoid bodies at the line of scrimmage, too often slowed by contact…won’t generate consistent movement at the point of attack…better pass rusher than run defender at this point in his career and needs to do a better job playing the edge…hand technique needs work to better stack-and-shed and untie himself from blockers…plays too fast at times and needs to be more efficient with his movements to change gears in short spaces to eliminate wasted momentum…will get too far upfield and creates more ground to cover…needs to infuse more discipline into his football diet to avoid roughing penalties, hitting too high or late…limited experience dropping in space or playing in reverse…a potential Virginia football recruit was arrested for underage possession of alcohol (Jan. 2013) while being hosted by Harold.

Film and Final Thoughts up next

Next: Film and Final Thoughts

I see some Quinton Coples when I watch Eli Harold. One of the biggest things I see is that he is a different player standing up as a linebacker. With his hand in the dirt, it seems that linemen can overpower him, or direct him away from the ball much easier. When Harold is standing up, we see his moves come to the forefront, and he can make linemen miss. Harold’s speed is much easier to see, and he makes his way to the backfield.

Eli Harold is relentless in his pursuit of the football. Sometimes, however, he can overpersue. His anticipation is so good, but if he doesn’t get to the ball carrier, either the quarterback or running back, he is beaten quite badly. If the opponent runs a quick handoff, run away from Harold, he is seen sitting in the backfield watching the play go by. Eli Harold will have to learn more to stay in his lane, so he doesn’t overpersue and watch running backs fly past him.

But, Eli Harold clearly has ability. Getting to the quarterback is what Eli Harold can do best, and he would make a solid impact as a member of the New York Jets.

Next: Draft Profile: T.J. Yeldon

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