As part of our coverage leading up to the 2015 NFL Draft we will provide profiles of 200 prospects, including what the scouts around the league are saying and video interviews with each player.
Max Valles (OLB), Virginia
6’5” | 251 lbs.
55 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 9 sacks, 1 INT, 3 FF
What scouts are saying:
"Redshirt sophomore who relies solely on his outstanding athleticism and physical tools rather than an understanding of how to play the game. If Valles can improve his football intelligence while becoming a more skilled pass rusher, then he should be able to unlock his starter's traits and become a quality NFL edge player. In the short term, Valles will require patience and might not be much of a factor in Year 1." - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
"Extremely raw. In need of more experience and more coaching. Shows very little instinct as a defensive end or linebacker and takes longer than desired to process what he sees. Won't always pursue the ball carrier with revved motor. Florida State tight end Nick O'Leary kept him blocked all game long. Lack of instincts and feel prevents him from utilizing proper footwork and angles to attempt tackles at times. Sack total skewed. Vast majority of sacks did not come with a win against a tackle." - Lance Zierlein, NFL.com
Fit for the Bears:
The amount of linebackers on the Bears roster (especially after moving some defensive ends to 3-4 OLB) makes it hard to believe that Ryan Pace will add too much more depth at the position in the draft, unless there's an elite pass rusher available at No. 7. Valles could be an interesting option in the later rounds because of his athletic ability. But the former Cavalier is very raw and would need to take somewhat of a "redshirt" year to develop. Valles isn't completely off the Bears radar but he's a project the Bears may not want to take in the middle rounds.
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Anthony Miller has quickly become a fan favorite on social media. He has the confidence and swagger found in most top wide receivers and it comes through on his Twitter and Instagram accounts.
Miller was one of 40 players in attendance at the 2018 NFLPA Rookie Premiere where he not only learned about the business and marketing side of football, but also suited up in his Bears gameday uniform for the first time. Of course, he shared the moment on Twitter:
Panini America, a sports collectible company, snapped a picture of Miller with fellow rookie receiver Calvin Ridley (Falcons) and quarterback Mason Rudolph (Steelers):
Miller has become something of a standout for the Bears despite not playing a single snap. He's expected to have a big role in an offense that has several new pieces and roles that are up for grabs.
Miller will compete with former first-round pick Kevin White and free-agent addition Taylor Gabriel for reps opposite Allen Robinson. Miller has the necessary skill set to play as both an outside receiver and in the slot which should give him an even greater opportunity to be on the field quite a bit.
The Bears first three draft picks are all vying for starting jobs in 2018. Roquan Smith (first round) is a lock to start next to Danny Trevathan and James Daniels (second round) will start at guard. Miller should make it three-for-three in a draft class that could end up the best of Ryan Pace's tenure.
Chicago Bears GM Ryan Pace is having what many believe is his best offseason since taking the job in 2015, but after three seasons and only 14 wins, he needs a big year in 2018 to justify the confidence ownership has in him.
According to a recent breakdown of all 32 general managers, Pace ranks among the worst decision-makers in the league.
No. 23: Ryan Pace, Chicago Bears
There’s only so much you can accomplish in one spring. The problem is that Pace let himself accumulate so many needs to begin with. He needs Trubisky and Nagy to springboard a fourth-year turnaround.
The rankings didn't include six new GM hires, which makes Pace's positioning even more troubling.
Even though the Bears haven't seen wins on the field, Pace has done a solid job through three draft classes and appears to have the right coaching staff in place. His first hire, John Fox, was a calculated move by a rookie general manager to have an experienced football guy to lean on. Now, several offseasons later, the team is starting to take on his identity.
Despite all the talent Pace has added through the draft and the slow but steady transformation of the team's overall culture, it's a win-now business and if his blueprint doesn't start producing more wins than losses, it will be hard to justify more time and patience for his plan to develop.