Earlier today, Alabama safety Landon Collins told the media how much he loved the Washington Redskins and specifically Sean Taylor growing up. Now it is Virginia DE/OLB Eli Harold's turn to let everyone know who he would be his dream team to play for in the NFL. Harold(6'3", 247 lbs) reportedly met with the Redskins and told Head Coach Jay Gruden that he would love to play OLB for the team.
Harold is currently projected to be a late 1st, early 2nd round draft pick(#36 overall via CBS Sports). The Redskins are rumored to have interest in Harold, and he could make sense at the top of the 2nd round. A lot of people have Washington taking a pass rusher at the top of the first, but if they trade down, or go with a different position, Harold could be the best available when they pick again at #38.
STRENGTHS Angular with muscular arms and surprising strength. Rushed with hand in ground and standing up. Fires out of stance with forward lean, gaining ground quickly with his first two steps. Edge rusher who torques upper body around edge, giving tackles limited area to punch. Sinks hips, dips shoulder and trims the edge when he gains advantage around corner. Also has efficient, quick inside move to pressure quarterback. Memorable closing burst. Impressive, accurate hand usage with little wasted motion as pass rusher and uses hands to snatch and shed against run. Potential to be outstanding edge-setter against tight ends. Skinny and slippery through creases on twists and B-gap blitzes. Changed direction easily and will pursue like a wild man in space.
WEAKNESSES Thin waist and lower body lacks mass. Shredded body -- and might struggle to add more good weight. Play strength is below average as pass rusher. Can be jostled and redirected by a quality punch. Has to work overtime to disengage from tackles with strong hands. Needs to get a little better at keeping offensive linemen off of him. Instincts below average. Gets to many more plays than he is converting. Will need to improve feel for the outside-linebacker spot and become a more consistent finisher. Needs more experience in space and in coverage.
NFL COMPARISON Olivier Vernon
BOTTOM LINE Explosive, leggy outside linebacker who has surprising strength at the point of attack, and the hands and length to become an outstanding edge-setter. Harold's burst upfield to threaten the edge is pro caliber and his ability to bend the corner at a 45-degree angle creates potential for him to become a quality pass rusher from either outside linebacker spot in a 3-4.
UVA's Eli Harold, lost his mom to cancer at 15. Raised by his brother a pastor. Motivated to make it for his family pic.twitter.com/6NxeIl71x1— Dianna Marie Russini (@NBCdianna) February 21, 2015
Harold grew up a Redskin fan, loves them. Told Gruden he would love to play for them back as outside linebacker. #UVA— Dianna Marie Russini (@NBCdianna) February 21, 2015
Harold an incredible story. No dad, raised by a strict brother who has kids of his own that he says aren't his nephews but his brothers— Dianna Marie Russini (@NBCdianna) February 21, 2015
Harold held his mother's hand when she took her last breath. He has chills thinking about her looking down on him if he's drafted— Dianna Marie Russini (@NBCdianna) February 21, 2015