Bears

NFL Draft Profile: Virginia OLB Max Valles

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NFL Draft Profile: Virginia OLB Max Valles

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.

2014 stats:

55 tackles, 12.5 TFL, 9 sacks, 1 INT, 3 FF

Projection:

4th-5th round

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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Bill Belichick scoffs at Khalil Mack-Lawrence Taylor comparison

Bill Belichick scoffs at Khalil Mack-Lawrence Taylor comparison

All of the good graces Bill Belichick may have won on Tuesday afternoon -- when he compared the Bears' offense to Kansas City's -- are officially gone. 

Today, when talking to reporters, a Khalil Mack-Lawrence Taylor comparison came up. Belichick, who coached LT as the New York Giants’ defensive coordinator in the 1980s, was NOT having it: 

"Wait a minute, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor now. I’m not putting anybody in (LT’s) class. Put everybody down below that. With a lot of respect to a lot of good players, we’re talking about Lawrence Taylor."

A bit harsh, Bill. 

For what it's worth, here's Khalil Mack's 2018 projection, assuming his latest ankle injury doesn't make him miss time: 

20 sacks, four interceptions, 16 forced fumbles, 4 fumble recoveries

That's .5 sacks less and four INTS, 16 FFs and 4 recoveries more than LT had in his 1986 MVP season. And yeah, maybe "they didn't record tackles/fumbles in 1986" and "16 forced fumbles would not only blow the current record (10) out of the water but is just plain unrealistic" but whatever, we're just sayin'. 

UPDATE: shocker, LT agrees: 

Matt Nagy gives update on the state of Khalil Mack's ankle

Matt Nagy gives update on the state of Khalil Mack's ankle

The Bears have seemingly dodged a bullet, for now. 

Following Tuesday's announcement that Khalil Mack would undergo further tests on the right ankle injury he sustained during Sunday's loss, Bears head coach had more optimistic news on Wednesday:

It could obviously get a lot worse than a day-to-day diagnosis, though not practicing on Wednesday might raise some eyebrows. 

It sounds like Mack is expected to be a go for Sunday's matchup with the Patriots, though as the Bears saw with the Dolphins' QB situation last week, things can change in a heartbeat.