The next couple of profiles I will be writing are going to be on the top three pass rushers in the CAA. Sage Harold, Mike Reilly, and Ryan Delaire all offer things that teams could be interested in. I think they are under-exposed to a lot of people and I hope I can bring some attention to these guys. They are players to keep an eye on because I think at least one of them will play in the NFL. Hopefully I can offer some exposure to these guys because all three were very good at the FCS level.
Player: Sage Harold
School: James Madison
Height: 6’ 3"
Weight: 235 lbs
JMU vs Richmond (2014)
JMU Vs Saint Francis (2014)
JMU VS William and Mary (2014)
73 Tackles 23.5 TFL 13.5 Sacks 6 FF 9 QB Hits 5 Pass Breakups
Sage Harold is one of my favorite prospects in this year’s draft. This season he dominated the FCS level of competition, and led the CAA in sacks, TFL, and FF. We haven’t seen this production from him in the past, but that is from illness, injury, and scheme. This year, JMU switched to the 3-4 and Harold enjoyed his most productive season yet.
Sage looks A LOT like his Uncle Eli (they are uncle/nephew but are more like cousins/brothers). They have very similar body types, but Eli is a bit longer. Their speed, which is their standout characteristic, is very similar. Sage is a bit inconsistent with his burst off the line, but he gets better burst from the 2 point stance. He has the speed to run down ball carriers on stretch runs and to fly past OT on pass plays. He shows some strength as well, and shows some good leverage on OTs when getting sacks. I think his stats speak for themselves in what he is capable of in the run game and while attacking the passer. If he was at a bigger school (originally slated to go to Marshall, but poor grades forced him to Fork Union) and had half the production, we could be talking about a 5th-6th round pick.He shows everything you want in a pass rusher, but like most college pass rushers, needs to improve in coverage.
Harold plays special teams, and flies down the field as a gunner. He is routinely one of the first players down the field in this aspect, and it greatly increases his value to teams looking for late round picks. One of the things I will always talk about with these late round prospects is value. I believe when making late round picks, you always want a guy who a) plays special teams, and b) has some outstanding traits. Harold exhibits both: a top FCS pass rusher who is fast and long, plays teams, and has potential in the NFL. He is a guy who I would easily spend a 7th on, if not a 6th. He was a play maker on JMU’s defense and would be a good test for new DC Joe Barry. The tools and drive are there for Harold and I believe is another guy who could become a very good player with the appropriate coaching. I had the confidence that coach Baker could develop him. However, Barry’s track record in San Diego lets me think he could do something similar.
Strengths: Speed rush, routinely penetrates the backfield, runs down ball carriers, has ability to set edge in run support, has NFL body type, plays special teams
Weaknesses: Some inconsistency in burst off the line, needs to improve pass coverage, question on level of competition.
Bottom Line: I really like Harold’s tools. I also like that we could get a similar player, physically, to Eli Harold, though he is much more raw. I think he is worth a 7th or at least a priority free agent. He offers value as a LB with athleticism and on special teams. A playmaker at JMU, he is a long shot, but I believe there is potential there. He shows the speed and attacking ability that could translate.
Here is why I see Eli and Sage Harold as similar. It is only one example, but it shows their burst off the line and speed on pursuit. (though Eli got fooled on the read option, he was there and could have tackled either player).
These are similar plays where both players came unblocked off the line and I think they got to a man close to the same time. Out of the 3 CAA players I listed, I think Sage has some of the most potential.