Scouting Report: Eli Harold, DE/OLB, Virginia

Eli Harold was a four-star high school recruit from Virginia Beach, Virginia. He chose to stay home due to Virginia’s head coach Mike London’s connection to the Virginia Beach area over a variety of SEC schools. Harold was the fifth-ranked weakside defensive end in the 2012 high school classs and no. 50 recruit nationally. Harold enters the 2015 NFL Draft as a future late first-early second round draft pick.

College Career Overview

Harold played in all 12 games as a true freshman in 2012 and drew the start for Virginia’s defense in 2013. Harold played well as a sophomore and was seen as a pre-season Bednarik Award watch list going into his Junior season. Harold earned All-ACC second team honors in 2014.


DOB 1994 (not specified) Bench (225 lb) 24 reps
Height 6’3-1/8″ Vertical Jump 35″
Weight 247 lbs Broad Jump 10’3″
Arms 33″ 20 Yard Shuttle 4.16 sec
Hands 9-3/8″ 3 Cone Drill 7.07 sec
40 Yard Dash (10 yd split) 4.60 sec (1.56 sec) 60 Yard Shuttle 11.81 sec


Stats and Awards

University of Virginia (2012-2014) All-ACC Second-team, All-ACC Coaches Second-team (2014)
2014 – 54 tackles, 14.5 TFL, 7.0 sacks, 2 PD, 1 FF, INT CollegeFootballNews All-Sophomore Second-team (2013)
2013 – 51 tackles, 15 TFL, 8.5 sacks, 1 PD, 2 FF Career No. 10 all-time in TFL and No. 11 in sacks at Virginia
2012 – 36 tackles, 7 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 1 FF, 1 INT


Scouting Report

  • Fluid, natural runner in space
  • No read-and-react on read-option plays
  • Pass rushing moves consisted of club-swim, club-rip, and decent double-swipe to jump inside
  • Solid spin move that he rarely, ever used that I wanted to see more of
  • High effort player, doesn’t give up on pursuit
  • Seems content with being blocked and doesn’t have a backup pass rush or second effort
  • Very active hands while he’s pass rushing, but can’t seem to separate once the blocker is fully engaged.
  • Has a violent push IF he gets his hands inside the blocker and shows good strength but way too inconsistent placement
  • Spends a lot of time on the ground
  • Doesnt get proper hip bend and overpursues even with clean shot into the backfield
  • Tall lean frame but needs to add muscle. Added 10-12 lbs for the NFL Combine so we need to see how he effectively can use this added mass.
  • Excellent backside pursuit. Is always around the ball with high motor.
  • The definition of a project 3-4 OLB. Needs to develop moves better, needs to get better at shedding blocks, decent at holding point of attack in downhill running game and with added strength should be better.
  • Below average snap recognition skills. Tackle reading from 3pt stance and snap/cadence reading from the 2pt shows up in snap recognition.
  • Relies on speed to shed blocks rather than strength and hand placement
  • Inconsistent pass rusher. Somtimes looks great like against Louisville, but other times looks awful like against Pittsburgh where he struggles getting off of blocks.
  • Seems like he doesn’t plan his moves beforehand leading him to stalemates. When he decides pre-snap that he is going to spin or use a club-swim he looks good. Too often he just seems content with winging it and his natural awareness isn’t strong enough to do that on the fly.
  • Suscepible to cut blocks. Cameron Erving abused him with that multiple times in a row when UVA played FSU.
  • Loses leverage in run support once the offensive lineman gets his hands on Harold inside the shoulder pads.
  • So much better at inside pass rushing as opposed to edge rushing.
  • Generally has problem turning corner while edge rushing.
  • Stands too tall in pass rushing which makes him lose leverage.

Film Study

Five games were watched to analyze Harold’s pass rushing and run defense in this scouting report all from These games were:

  • UCLA – 8/30/2014
  • Louisville – 9/13/2014
  • Pittsburgh – 10/4/2014
  • Florida State – 11/8/2014
  • Miami – 11/22/2014

1. Pass Rush

Harold’s best attribute as an edge rusher is pass rushing, showing a good burst off of the line of scrimmage. It seemed to me that he was tackle-reading when he was in a three-point stance, waiting for the left tackles movement to react which made him appear slow off of the snap, while he was snap- or count-reading in a two point stance. Here are a couple of plays of him being “slow” off of the snap in a three point stance.

To be an effective pass rusher in the NFL, an edge rusher needs to have a variety of moves to get into the backfield. Harold doesn’t have many moves besides, a club-swim move, speed-rip move, and a double-swipe move to rush into the backfield. In this play, Harold uses his club-swim move, but slips while turning the corner and loses balance.

Here’s another club-swim move to edge rush.

Here’s the double-swipe I referred to above to get the outside edge on the blocker.

One of the things that I was dissapointed with while watching Harold was that he actually has a good spin move, but he used it only once or twice in ALL of the snaps I saw. Here Harold uses it to work inside getting the blocker to commit outside with his initial press to the outside shoulder. He needs to use it more to be less predictable.

Overall Harold seemed better with inside moves rather than working outside to get penetration. This could be due to poor hip turning or for lack of ankle flexibility.

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Samuel Gold

Sam founded NFL Breakdowns after working his way through the journalist farm system and is enjoying life in the big league. Growing up outside of Washington, D.C., Sam didn’t choose the Redskins, the Redskins chose him. Out of a love for the game and an insatiable curiosity to determine why his beloved team was underperforming, Sam turned to studying film in NFL Breakdowns.