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San Francisco 49ers Draft Virginia OLB Eli Harold

Posted May 1, 2015

The 49ers added OLB Eli Harold with its third round pick in the 2015 NFL Draft.



With the 79th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers selected Virginia OLB Eli Harold.

Harold recorded seven sacks as a junior at Virginia in 2014. He was named the Touchdown Club of Richmond's Defensive Lineman of the Year and received All-ACC second-team honors. Harold was also a second-team All-ACC coaches selection. He finished his career with 36.5 tackles for loss ranking 10th all-time in Virginia school history. Harold's 17.5 career sacks rank 11th all-time in program history.

"I think it's a great situation for me," Harold said. "To have two veteran guys (Aldon Smith and Ahmad Brooks) who have seen it all and done it all; been to Pro Bowls, been top sack guys in the league. I just feel like it's the best situation for me not having played linebacker at the college level and having my hand down a lot. I really think I can cover but I didn't have that responsibility when I was in college. Coming into a role where I'm not high on the depth chart, I feel like learning from the veteran guys will really help me out a lot."

Harold said on his conference call that he prides himself in his leadership.

"From my freshman year when I first came in, I was playing right away and guys would listen to m," Harold said. "Even growing up teachers would tell my mother, 'He's such a leader. People just rally to him.' ... I feel like that's something God blessed me with, to have that leadership ability."

Here's a brief analysis of Harold's strengths from his draft bio on NFL.com.

"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."

Harold stands 6-foot-3 and weighs 247 pounds. He ran a 4.60-second 40-yard dash at the combine. Harold also posted a vertical leap of 35 inches and a broad jump of 123 inches.

This is a scenario where 49ers general manager Trent Baalke took the best player available, as some projected Harold to be a first-round talent. Some of the media tweeted their instant reaction of the draft pick.


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