Eli Harold

Newest Eagle Eli Harold trying to impress a coach he revered as a child

Newest Eagle Eli Harold trying to impress a coach he revered as a child

It’s not too often a 12-year-old kid has his future coach’s picture on his wall.

The newest Eagle, defensive Eli Harold, had two of them.

Harold grew up in Virginia Beach and like most of the kids in the area was a huge Redskins fan.

His favorites were defensive linemen Andre Carter, Lorenzo Alexander and Phillip Daniels.

Yes, the same Phillip Daniels that’s now the Eagles’ defensive line coach.

 All those guys were on my wall, and I had met them when I was like 12 at the Virginia Beach Pavilion,” he said after practice Sunday. “Andre Carter was my assistant outside linebackers coach at San Fran for one year and I was talking to Phillip yesterday and I was like, ‘Yo, this is amazing, I’ve now played for two of my former favorite players,’ and we were rapping about Andre Carter last night.

Harold, a third-round draft pick of the 49ers in 2016, has also spent time with the Lions and Bills. The Eagles acquired him in an unusual mid-camp trade on Friday from the Bills in exchange for undrafted rookie offensive lineman Ryan Bates.

Daniels played 15 seasons in the NFL for the Seahawks, Bears and — from 2004 through 2010 — with the Redskins.

It’s just a great situation to have a guy who’s played and had success and knows all the tricks of the trade,” Harold said. “Fifteen years, that’s a long time, at a time when the NFL was a lot harder than it is now. I’m excited to play for a guy like that.

Harold has nine career sacks, including four with the Lions last year. After playing outside linebacker in a 3-4 front in his previous NFL stops, this will be his first time playing defensive end in a 4-3 since college, but the Eagles think that’s what he’s best suited for.

At 6-foot-3, 255 pounds, Harold sure looks the part.

Good body for what we are looking for,” defensive coordinator Jim Schwartz said. “Our scouts liked him a couple years ago. He has had a little bit of production. He played sort of a hybrid role last year for Detroit, but we are a little bit different. Put his hand in the ground and let him come. He’s big, he’s strong and we will add him to the mix and see where it turns out, but he does have a little bit of experience. It’s a little bit different than a rookie coming in. We should get him up to speed pretty quickly.

The Bills gave Harold a $90,000 signing bonus in April, then traded him away in August.

Kind of weird.

“It’s nice to feel wanted,” he said after his first practice in an Eagles uniform.

What happened in Buffalo?

I don’t know, little things that go on,” he said. “Obviously, it’s a business, but coming to a new place and I already feel the guys they’ve accepted me already and I haven’t even been here 24 hours and being in a   room with a lot of veterans plays a big part of it. They’ve got a veteran team here and they know how to win and I’m happy I’m here. … This scheme’s amazing, obviously this team’s had a lot of success, they went   to the Super Bowl a couple years ago and won it, so you see that it works and hopefully I can gel right in with these guys and try to make a name for myself.

Harold enters a crowded defensive end field where Brandon Graham, Derek Barnett and Vinny Curry are the only ones guaranteed a roster spot.

The next group includes Josh Sweat, Daeshon Hall, Shareef Miller and another recent acquisition, Kasim Edebali.

The roster cut-down to 53 is only 19 days away. It’s not much time for Harold to impress the coaches.

"I’m just take one day at a time man and attack it and give it all I’ve got and try to be me every day,” he said. “Whether it’s enough time or not, I just do what I do and try to impress the best way I can and control   what I can control, and that’s just to go all out every time I’m on the field."

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles

Eagles trade for Eli Harold, send Ryan Bates to Bills

Eagles trade for Eli Harold, send Ryan Bates to Bills

It’s not the type of big move you’ve been waiting for, but Howie Roseman made a trade on Friday for a veteran defensive end. 

The Eagles acquired 25-year-old Eli Harold from Buffalo for undrafted offensive lineman Ryan Bates from Penn State. 

Harold (6-3, 243) was a third-round pick out of Virginia in 2015 and has played in 61 NFL games with 25 starts. He has nine career sacks. 

After spending his first three NFL seasons with the 49ers, Harold played last season with the Lions. He signed a one-year deal with the Bills this past April. In 13 games with the Lions last season, Harold had a career-high four sacks. 

This move will give the Eagles some more depth at defensive end, a position with questionable depth this season. After Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett, their top reserves are Vinny Curry and Josh Sweat. Despite a strong performance from Daeshon Hall on Thursday night, the Eagles are still trying to get deeper at the position. 

The Eagles have great depth at defensive tackle this season, but defensive end is a different story. Last year, they came into the season with Chris Long and Michael Bennett coming off the bench. This year, their top guys are Curry and Sweat. That’s a considerable drop-off and adding Harold likely won’t do much to change that. But he could help. 

There will be some question about how Harold fits in the Eagles’ 4-3 system. He’s primarily played in a 3-4 defense as an outside 'backer and the Eagles are listing him at 243 pounds. If that’s accurate, he’s easily their lightest defensive end. That’s important to note because DEs in this system are supposed to get after the quarterback, but they’re also supposed to stop the run on their way there. 

The Eagles likely saw that Bates, despite looking solid, wasn’t going to make their roster, so they were at least able to flip the undrafted rookie (and local product) for a player at a position of greater need. That doesn’t mean Harold will make the Eagles’ 53-man roster, but he’ll have a better shot than Bates did. 

After a few injuries, the Bills were desperate for O-line help. This seems like a depth for depth trade. 

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Eagles