After back-to-back selections of linebackers (Ben Heeney and Neiron Ball), the Raiders once again chose a linebacker in the sixth round when they drafted Virginia outside linebacker Max Valles.
6'5", 251 lbs
40-YD Dash: 4.83
Vertical Jump: 36.5"
Broad Jump: 120"
3-Cone Drill: 7.59
20-YD Shuttle: 4.37
2014: 55 Tackles, 12.5 Tackles For Loss, 9 Sacks, 3 Forced Fumbles, 9 Pass Breakups
2013 (only started four games): 23 Tackles, 5.5 Tackles For Loss, 4 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble, 4 Pass Breakups
When thinking of the Virginia Cavaliers, the first name that comes to mind is San Francisco 49er's third-round pick Eli Harod. Yet, Harold did not lead the team in sacks or tackles for loss. That title belongs to Max Valles whose 9 sacks finished second in the ACC and his 12.5 tackles for loss were the most for any linebacker or defensive back in the ACC.
Valles was one of my favorite selections the Raiders made because he has so much upside. At 6'5" and 251 lbs, he has room to put on weight which increases his versatility as he can play both outside linebacker and defensive end.
Valles has all of the physical tools to succeed in the NFL and he demonstrates a rare ability to bat down passes as he has 13 pass deflections in the last two seasons. He has the potential to become a successful starter with the Raiders.
The reason he fell to the sixth round was because he is extremely raw. Valles needs to improve his technique and he has very little experience as he played only two seasons of division one football and only started one them.
"He's an athlete and not a football player right now. If it starts to click for him and he starts to put the tape work together with the talent -- look out, buddy. If it doesn't click, you've got a backup defensive end." -- AFC defensive line coach
How he fits with the Raiders:
Max Valles could be a steal for Oakland as they obtained a projected fourth round pick in the sixth round. Better yet, if Valles had stayed one more season at Virginia, it's possible he would have been a top-50 selection in the 2016 NFL Draft. Because of this potential, Valles was a low risk selection that has a high ceiling and the potential to be an impactful starter for the Silver and Black.
The Raiders are planning to use Valles at LEO which is a mixture of outside linebacker and defensive end. This should bode well for Valles as it will allow him to play to his strengths.
Ultimately, the selection of Max Valles was one of the more intriguing picks the Raiders made. Valles has the athleticism and physical tools necessary to become a quality edge rusher with some coaching.