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McShay’s Mock 5.0: Colts Select Virginia’s Eli Harold


ESPN Draft Analyst Todd McShay has released his latest mock draft via ESPN Insider (subscription), and it has the Indianapolis Colts taking Virginia pass rusher Eli Harold yet again:

The 6’3, 247 pound Harold isn’t one of the premier pass rushers in this year’s draft class, but he has the chance to be an impact pass rusher from the get-go and could prove to be an elite player in time. He’s currently projected as a late 1st-Early 2nd round pick, coming off a season in which he recorded 7 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss for the Cavaliers.

Feb 21, 2015; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Virginia defensive lineman Eli Harold talks to the media at the 2015 NFL Combine at Lucas Oil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Trevor Ruszkowski-USA TODAY Sports

As we noted in “Projecting the Pass Rushers“, Harold projects to be a solid pass rusher in his own right. However, if the Colts are going to take a pass rusher in the 1st round, we’d prefer it be one of the “1st-tier” pass rushers who may inexplicably fall to them at #29 overall. That’s nothing against Harold; however, the team would be arguably better served getting the best player available at any defensive position, rather than reaching a bit on a possible need for a pass rusher.

Given the potential Round 2-3 pass rushing options available like UCLA’s Owa Odighizuwa, Washington’s Hau’oli Kikaha, and Utah’s Nate Orchard, the Colts could theoretically get better value by taking one of these pass rushers, who are comparable to Harold, rather than reaching for the latter in the late first round. At least, that’s my opinion on the matter.

Still, Harold figures to help the defense, and the Colts could still use more playmakers on that side of the football, especially with both Robert Mathis and Trent Cole getting rather long in the tooth as pass rushers. Harold could presumably provide a long-term answer at the position.

While some draft experts have routinely had the team taking an offensive tackle, it’s not as big of a need as some of their current defensive holes. The Colts could still use an upgrade at safety, nose tackle, and even inside linebacker at this juncture.

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