The NFL Season has come and gone as has the Combine and it is officially NFL Draft season. Over the next two or so months, we will attempt to provide and publish about 100 unique scouting reports on potential NFL Draft picks. The aim of these scouting reports is to provide a detailed breakdown of each player based off of extensive film study. You can check out our Scouting Reports Page to see all of the reports we have published. This scouting report will take a look at the ultra-athletic hybrid pass rusher from Virginia, Eli Harold. Harold is a multi-year starter who has an explosive first step and a great motor.
Name: Eli Harold
Position: 3-4 Outside Linebacker, 4-3 Defensive End
Weight: 243 Pounds
College: University of Virginia
2015 Stats: 54 Tackles, 14.5 Tackles for Loss, 7 Sacks, 1 Interception, 1 Fumble Recover (returned for TD), 2 Pass Breakups, 1 Forced Fumble
After the jump you will get a breakdown of Eli Harold’s pro’s and con’s as well as our grade for Harold.
Pros: Harold’s biggest strength is his explosiveness off the ball and lightning quick first step. These two things allow him to beat outside rushers with his speed rushing moves and have a big advantage from the moment the play starts. He does a nice job staying low and driving into his blocker while using his feet and hands very well. He is a very good athlete and makes plays off of his athleticism and motor. Is very long and uses that length to lock into the blocker and lower his shoulder and get by.
Cons: He is inconsistent with his technique, in terms of staying low. When he stands up too fast, he becomes easy to block and all of his natural athleticism is negated. He does not have a history of playing in pass coverage, which could be a problem as his best fit is as a 3-4 outside linebacker. Overall, his pass rushing skill set is very raw and he still needs to learn how to become a more consistent pass rusher.
Our Take: Harold is far from a finished product but he has one of the best first steps in the entire draft and has an unbelievable motor. His technique is inconsistent and he doesn’t have experience playing in coverage, but both of those things that can be taught. However, his natural athleticism and work ethic cannot be taught and when he puts it all together, he is going to be an absolute terror coming off the edge in a 3-4 system.
Final Grade: 92 Out of 100
Harold’s athleticism, first step, and work ethic are enough to earn him a mid to late first round grade despite being quite raw in terms of a pass rushing repertoire and lack of coverage history. He is someone who is going to come into the league and work tremendously hard on his craft and he will improve very quickly. If he can keep his technique consistent, he will be someone who can contribute in scenarios as a rookie.
Possible Draft Spots: While I see Harold as a first round pick, I don’t think it will be in the top 20. The first potential landing spot I could see for Harold is the Pittsburgh Steelers at 22. After that, I could see the Ravens giving him a look at 26, the Cowboys at 27, the Broncos at 28, and the Patriots at 32. However, there is a chance none of these teams select him and he falls to the second round. In that scenario, I believe teams like the Titans at 33, Raiders at 35, Redskins at 38, Bears at 39, and Falcons at 42 would all target Harold.
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