McShay’s Mock Draft 4.0: Colts Select OLB Eli Harold Again


With the 29th pick in the NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts select: Eli Harold. At least according to ESPN Draft analyst Todd McShay’s latest Mock Draft (subscription). Harold hails from Virginia and this isn’t the first time McShay has had the Colts taking Harold.

From McShay’s mock draft:

"#29 Eli Harold Indianapolis Colts (11-5)COLLEGE: VirginiaClass: Jr, HT: 6-3, WT: 235POS: OLBAnalysis: I’d like to give them an offensive lineman here, but there aren’t any left worth taking in this scenario. Harold would provide the Colts with a young pass-rusher to develop behind veterans Trent Cole and Robert Mathis, as Bjoern Werner has yet to provide evidence that he’ll develop into an impact player. Harold is raw and needs to improve his recognition skills and tackling ability, but he flashes very good upside as a pass-rusher and is also a good run defender."

McShay had the Colts selecting Harold in his Mock 2.0 following the end of the NFL season. In his first and third mocks, McShay had the Colts selecting an offensive lineman. In Mock 1.0, it was T.J. Clemmings, offensive tackle from Pittsburgh. In Mock 3.0, McShay had the Colts taking La’El Collins, offensive tackle out of LSU.

There are far too many draft analysts who believe that the Colts need to take an offensive lineman. They see the sack number for Andrew Luck and believe that it must be on the line, completely ignoring the fact that sacks are largely on the quarterback.

Its refreshing to see someone suggesting that the Colts need to improve their defense. However, Harold might not find a spot on the roster as the need at outside linebacker isn’t nearly as pressing as other positions.

While the recent injury updates on Robert Mathis aren’t encouraging, it would be an overcorrection to select an outside linebacker this early in the draft and with great need at elsewhere. It is feasible to see them doing so as Mathis and Trent Cole are north of 30 and Erik Walden is nearing the end of his deal (in addition to being a mediocre player).

The other outside linebackers include Jonathan Newsome, who led the Colts in sacks last season as a rookie, and Bjoern Werner, a former first round pick who hasn’t developed into a starter.

Nov 30, 2013; Charlottesville, VA, USA; Virginia Tech Hokies quarterback Logan Thomas (3) runs with the ball as Virginia Cavaliers defensive end Eli Harold (7) makes the tackle in the third quarter at Scott Stadium. The Hokies won 16-6. Mandatory Credit: Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Harold would be a very good fit for the Colts 3-4 scheme. He posted 15.5 sacks, four forced fumbles, and two interceptions in his last two seasons at Virginia. Outside of quarterback, pass rusher is arguably the most important position on the field and a team can never have too many sack artists.

Drafting Harold doesn’t exactly fit with the team’s short term plan of winning a Super Bowl in 2015. The Colts still need to find a safety to start opposite of Mike Adams and its more likely the Colts would go that direction with the first pick (or defensive line).

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