Bengals Draft Prospect: Eli Harold, OLB, Virginia


Oct 25, 2014; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers defensive end Eli Harold (7) stands on the field against the North Carolina Tar Heels at Scott Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

We know that guys like Shaq Thompson and T.J. Clemmings have been listed as potentials to fall to the Bengals’ 21st pick in this year’s draft. CBS Sports analyst Pat Kirwan, thinks the Bengals may be in line for another prospect, Eli Harold out of Virginia. In his latest mock draft, Mr. Kirwan says:

"The Bengals were last in sacks in 2014 and need a pass rusher. This is the first time I put the 6-foot-4, 250-pound pass-rusher in the first round, but 16 sacks over the past two seasons pique interest."

Harold has a lot of upside with his speed and agility, running a 4.6 40-yard dash and doing the three cone drill in just 7.07 seconds; he is impressive.

He also has a maturity that many others haven’t developed.  Harold had a difficult home life and lost his mother in high school, according to a report from Dane Brugler of He is someone who, with the proper team, could grow as a linebacker or defensive end.

Harold played for a weak Virginia Cavaliers team, that only posted a 11-25 record during Harold’s college career. His stats, on the other hand, were better than the teams record suggests. Harold went for seven sacks, 54 combined tackles, one interception, and two pass deflections in 12 games this past season. He started both his sophomore and junior years and had 36.5 combined tackles for loss in that time.

The Bengals would have to get away from the “best player available” mindset to go this route, but Harold’s upsides and work ethic may be enough for the Bengals to give him more looks in the upcoming months before the draft. If they indeed draft him, it would be an upgrade from what they currently have and increase their flexibility at multiple positions, something they could desperately use considering the team’s health concerns over the past two years.

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