San Francisco 49ers

Round 3: 49ers take Virginia pass rusher Eli Harold

Virginia defensive ends Eli Harold (7) and Max Valles (88) celebrate after Harold recovered a fumble by Maryland quarterback Caleb Rowe in the first half of an NCAA college football game in College Park, Md., Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013.
Virginia defensive ends Eli Harold (7) and Max Valles (88) celebrate after Harold recovered a fumble by Maryland quarterback Caleb Rowe in the first half of an NCAA college football game in College Park, Md., Saturday, Oct. 12, 2013. AP

Eli Harold

OLB, Virginia

6-3 1/8, 251 pounds, 33-inch arms, 9 3/8-inch hands

2014 stats: 54 tackles, 0 tackles for loss, 7 sacks, 1 INT

Why he fits: Harold is the type of long-armed, bigger-bodied linebacker Trent Baalke likes at the edge. He entered the draft as a junior and some observers felt he could have used another year in college. He had some of his better games against good left tackles against Pittsburgh and Miami. One of the 49ers' starters at outside linebacker, Aldon Smith, is entering the final year of his contract. The other, Ahmad Brooks, had a down season in which he fought with coaches. Brooks' salary also may become steep in coming years. Harold described himself as “a natural born leader” and seems highly motivated to succeed. He said he’s fueled by the losses of a nephew, who was his age and as close to him as a brother, and his mother when he was 15.

Why he doesn't fit: Harold is a bit light right now to be a three-down player and his role, at least early on, may be as a pass rusher. He had 8 1/2 sacks and 15 tackles for loss as a sophomore but only seven sacks and no tackles behind the line of crimmage as a junior. The position may open up in coming years but is crowded at the moment.

Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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