(Editor's Note: Heading into the upcoming NFL Draft, held April 30-May 2, DallasCowboys.com will take a closer look at the prospects, including some that could be potential fits with the Cowboys. Today's featured player is Virginia edge rusher Eli Harold).
Position:Defensive End/Outside Linebacker
Honors:Harold led the Cavaliers in tackles for loss and sacks in 2014, earning himself a second-team All-ACC selection.
Key stat: The Virginia native didn't miss a single start in his final two seasons for UVA, and he combined for 15.5 sacks in those two years. Even more impressive is his ability to tackle ball carriers behind the line of scrimmage. He combined for 36.5 tackles for loss in two seasons.
Where He's Projected: Harold is one of the top names in the handful of "tweeners" that intrigue draftniks every single spring. Whether he plays in a 3-4 or a 4-3, his athleticism has him projected to go in the first 40 picks – either the late first or early second round. He's not as highly-regarded as fellow tweeners Vic Beasley and Bud Dupree. It's a decent bet he'll be there when Dallas picks at No. 27, but no guarantee.
How He Helps the Cowboys: It's always a matter of debate with tweeners, but there are plenty of draft evaluators who think Harold plays his best with his hand on the ground. He'll undoubtedly need some time to grow and develop, but he'd be another young, athletic pass rusher to add to the rotation along with DeMarcus Lawrence. That could be crucial, given that Greg Hardy and Jeremy Mincey aren't under contract past 2015.
Scout's Take: Will normally line up as the right defensive end. Explodes up the field. Really quick out of his stance. Has all the tools to be an outstanding edge player. I thought he needed to be more consistent from snap-to-snap. Not sure that he always has a plan when he rushes the passer, but there are rushes where you know that he gets it. Would like to see him with more pass rush moves than just relying on his natural ability. When he can get his shoulder past the blocker, he has a chance to cause some problems. Best two moves were his spin and arm over. Could tell that's what he went to when he wanted to get pressure. Thought there was a time or two where he played too tall out of his stance and he gave up his chest to the blocker and he wasn't strong enough to get away from the blocker. When he would rush, dip his shoulder and bend, he was a much better player. Was also able to get some push when he used his quickness to get underneath his man. Very quick on the inside charge. Plays the run surprisingly well. Will extend his hands to control the blocker. Has some punch in them. Will play with leverage. Can hold his ground when dealing with down and trap blocks. Was a hot and cold player when it came to chasing the ball from the backside. Has the ability to do it, but he just wasn't as consistent as he needed to be do it. The Florida State game was tough for him in the way that they handled him. Didn't win many of the battles in that game as they wore him down. In physically seeing the player during his visit to Dallas, he appears to have added more weight to his frame which will no doubt help his game. – Bryan Broaddus
-- Other Possible Picks --
Bryce Petty - QB - Baylor
Carl Davis - DT - Iowa
Eric Kendricks - LB - UCLA
Todd Gurley - RB - Georgia
Owamagbe Odighizuwa - DE - UCLA
Shaq Thompson - LB - Washington
Jalen Collins - CB - LSU
Devin Smith - WR - Ohio State
Melvin Gordon - RB - Wisconsin
Tevin Coleman - RB - Indiana
Byron Jones - CB - UConn
Ty Montgomery - WR - Stanford