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Max Valles 'felt strongly' about leaving school early, falls to sixth round to Raiders

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Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Usually when a player decides to leave school early, it's because he figures to come off the board in the first two days of the draft. Raiders sixth round pick Max Valles left Virginia after two seasons, with two years of eligibility left only to watch as he went undrafted for the first two days. Then he watched the first two rounds go by on Day 3 before finally getting that phone call.

A college outside linebacker, Valles will play defensive end for the Raiders. Despite having 9.0 sacks last season, his sixth round selection was right about where he was projected, with words like 'raw' and 'sloppy technique' tossed around -- both skills that could be honed before making the leap to the NFL. One would have to think had he been able to duplicate that kind of production in college, his stock would have risen considerably.

Even still, Valles has no reservations about his decision to head to the pros early.

"I felt strongly about it," said Valles following his draft selection by the Raiders.

"I talked to my coach, my family about it. Everybody felt that I was ready. Second in the ACC in sacks, All ACC so I felt like it was time."

"I feel comfortable playing at the next level. It worked out so..."

Yes, it worked out. Maybe not quite as highly as he had expected when he made the decision, but he DID get drafted. And the Raiders are hoping he will play at the level of his confidence in his abilities.