Aldon Smith

49ers stick with the defensive trend, take OLB Eli Harold

This is going to be considerably shorter, because I’m sitting in the AT&T Park press box and I should be watching baseball. The 49ers took Eli Harold, an outside linebacker out of Virginia, with the 79th overall pick.

The 49ers have bolstered the defensive side of the ball with their first three picks, which should really disappoint everyone that hoped the 49ers would pluck one of the talented wide receivers from this crop on a Thursday or a Friday (*meagerly raises hand*).

But this is an impressive pickup, based on what little I’ve seen of him by watching his YouTube highlights. He’s 6-4, 250 and runs a 4.6 40 yard dash (.18 faster than everyone’s favorite quarterback hunter, Aldon Smith). In three seasons at Virginia, Harold racked up 141 tackles, 36.5 for a loss, and 17.5 sacks.

There’s the pass rusher with the college production, three rounds in.

If we’re at the point of accepting the fact that Trent Baalke is ignoring almost all of the positions of immediate need and drafting depth where it doesn’t seem to be needed, then this pick makes sense. The 49ers’ pass rush was a big reason why their defense was so dominant in 2011 and 2012, Corey Lemonier is not who we thought he was, and Ahmad Brooks is phasing out.

Should Harold develop into the same talent in the NFL that he was in college, a rotation that includes him, Smith and Aaron Lynch should be scary.

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