The Cincinnati Bengals were one of 32 teams (aka, everyone associated with an NFL team on planet Earth) that attended the University of Virginia Pro Day on Monday, according to multiple reports.
The school features two interesting pass rushers -- an identifying need for the Bengals. One of the major prospects includes pass rusher Eli Harold, who had a strong performance on Monday. Per Daily Progress:
Harold, perhaps the No. 1 reason for scouts from all 32 NFL teams in attendance, built on his impressive showing at last week’s NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis with a solid display in Charlottesville. The officially measured 6-foot-3, 245-pounder recorded a 34.5-inch vertical leap and bench pressed 225 pounds 24 times. Add that to the 4.6 seconds it took him to run the 40-yard dash in Indy and Harold’s stock is on the rise.
Oddly enough, Mel Kiper Jr's most recent mock draft had Harold going No. 21 to the Bengals:
"You can quibble all day about whether Harold is a perfect fit in Cincinnati; what can't be argued is that the Bengals' pass rush was absolutely dreadful in 2014 -- pretty safely the worst in the NFL -- and they simply need to find more explosiveness off the edge," writes Kiper. "Harold isn't the total package in terms of his ability to counter when he gets blocked or display great awareness against the run, but the guy has tremendous get-off and is an exceptional athlete who can beat people with quickness. The Bengals can't go wrong if they add a pass-rusher here."
Whatevs, says Harold.
"It's noise," Harold told the media via Redskins.com. "I’m just trying to do what I’ve done my whole life. I’m going to be the same person no matter whether I got in the first round or the fourth. I’m going to be the same person at the end of the day."
Over the last two seasons, Harold generated 29.5 tackles for loss and 15.5 quarterback sacks -- he also added two interceptions during his career, along with four pass deflections and four forced fumbles with one returned for a touchdown.
There are some that would identify Harold more of an outside linebacker in 3-4 alignment, as opposed to a defensive end in a 4-3 scheme.
"(Scouts) were basically asking me where I see myself — as an end or a backer?" Harold said. "I was telling them, ‘Whatever you guys want me to do,’ but I told them I feel more versatile standing up."
Linebacker Max Valles also worked out in front of scouts on Monday, but a shoulder issue prevented him from doing the bench press. Valles surprised everyone by announcing his intention to enter the NFL draft, after only two years in college -- though three years removed from high school. Valles compiled 13 quarterback sacks and 18 tackles for loss over the last two years in Virginia -- he led the school with nine sacks in 2014.
"I’m only going to get better," Valles said via Redskins.com. "I still haven’t really grown to my full potential. I feel like my ceiling’s very high. I’m definitely going to get much better."