Former Virginia Cavaliers' DE/OLB Eli Harold achieved his dreams tonight, as he was drafted in the third round of the 2015 NFL Draft by the San Francisco 49ers with the 79th overall selection.
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Wahoo fans weren't thrilled when Eli Harold announced his decision to forego his final season of eligibility and enter the NFL Draft. Unhappy, perhaps, but not surprised. After the season he had, and the state the program is in, nobody can blame Eli for running to the NFL. He's projected to be a late first round/early second round pick.
Harold, a junior, decided to forego his senior season at Virginia to enter the NFL Draft a year early. The 6'3", 247 lbs. defensive lineman may be undersized for his position, but he displayed some strength and speed at the NFL Combine / UVA Pro Day, with a 4.6-second 40-yard dash and 35-inch vertical jump.
In his 2014 campaign, Harold put up 54 tackles (24 solo) and 7 sacks for 42 yards. He had 14.5 tackles for a loss of 65 yards, forced one fumble and recovered two.
A second-team All-ACC defender, Harold could play as either an outside linebacker or a defensive end, and could excel in either position. Question marks for Harold include his inconsistency and seeming reluctance to get his arms involved in the tackle.
Virginia has not had a first round pick since Eugene Monroe was selected No. 8 overall in 2009. Since then, the Hoos have had three second-round selections in Clint Sintim that same year (No. 45 overall to the New York Giants), Chris Cook in 2010 (No. 34 overall to the Minnesota Vikings) and Ras-I Dowling in 2011 (No. 33 overall to the New England Patriots).