A third-round draft pick of the San Francisco 49ers in 2015, defensive end Eli Harold has experienced the business side of the NFL extensively in his brief time here.
After three developing seasons with the 49ers, Harold was traded to Detroit, where he played with the Lions in 2018. Then he signed with Buffalo as a free agent in the offseason and on Sunday was traded again, this time to the Eagles in exchange for offensive lineman Ryan Bates.
Welcome to Philadelphia, Eli Harold. Maybe you will find some traction here.
"First of all, it's nice to be wanted," Harold said on Sunday, following his first practice with the Eagles at the NovaCare Complex. "I'm excited about the opportunity. I can't wait to really get to work with the guys and learn the defense and how to build this thing the right way."
Harold said he's a "natural" 4-3 defensive end, meaning he prefers putting his hand in the ground and moving forward, which he'll do here. It's something he hasn't done on a regular basis since his college days at Virginia, although he took reps doing that last year in Detroit and notched three quarterback sacks in the first four games with the Lions.
"I'm just getting back to being used to having my hand in the dirt and learning all of the nuances of playing defensive end," he said. "Scheme plays a big part in a player's success."
The Eagles have an interesting picture behind projected starters Brandon Graham and Derek Barnett. Vinny Curry is the third end, and the team is looking hard at depth. Daeshon Hall had a strong opening preseason game against Tennessee on Thursday night, Josh Sweat has made strides in his second season here, and fourth-round draft pick Shareef Miller flashed in his preseason debut. Veteran Kasim Edebali provided quality snaps against the Titans.
Harold is here for a deep look. He knows he doesn't have much time to impress, but he will no doubt see some playing time Thursday night in Jacksonville.
"I can only control what I can control, so I am here to give it everything I've got and play fast and be confident," Harold said. "They made the trade for a reason. I'm going to show them what I can do. It feels like a good scheme for me and what they're asking me to do."