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Dele Harding is a tackling machine

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2020 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

Western Michigan v Illinois

Dele Harding, LB
School: Illinois | Conference: Big 10
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21(?)
Height / Weight: 6’1” / 229 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Round 7 to UDFA
NFL Comparison: Elandon Roberts

Career Statistics:

Player Overview

During his freshman season, Harding played in 9 games, primarily as a special teamer after coming out of high school as the top ranked LB from Maryland (23rd nationally). In 2017, he played in 8 games and started 5 as a linebacker. He ended up second on the team in special teams tackles (4) that year. His junior season he was voted special teams captain and played in 9 games at linebacker, starting two.

In 2019, Harding was selected as a co-captain. He was also elevated to starting linebacker and ended up second in the country in both total tackles (153) and tackles per game (11.8) (behind Evan Weaver of Cal). He finished the season as the #17 graded LB in the nation, and was an AP second team BIG 10 honoree.

Strengths

  • Provides instant value on special teams.
  • Very good run defender.
  • Hard hitter and great tackler.
  • Has good instincts for the action.

Weaknesses

  • Size could be an issue in the pros.
  • Doesn’t have ideal quickness for coverage.
  • Probably a two down defender early in his career.

Let’s See His Work

Pro Day Results:

40: 4.89

Shuttle: 4.45

3-cone: 7.18

How He Would Fit

Harding is the sort of player taken in the late rounds or as an UDFA to assist initially on special teams, with the possibility of growing into a depth player in a year or two. Given that 2019 was his first full season as a starting linebacker, I suspect he still has some space to develop into a more effective run stopper.

His athleticism and speed leave quite a bit to be desired, but Harding seems to have a good motor and a nose for the ball. He could definitely be worth taking a look at towards the end of Day 3 or after the draft.