The Oakland Raiders were ranked No. 18 in rushing defense in 2012, surrendering nearly 1,900 yards and watching their opponents cross the goal line no less than 18 times. Sensing a weakness, opponents attacked the Raiders on the ground 444 times, where Oakland gave up an average of 4.3 yards per attempt.
This appeared to be a need that would be addressed during the draft, but it was not until their second pick in the sixth round (205 overall) that general manager Reggie McKenzie nabbed Stacy McGee from Oklahoma. At 6'3" and 308 pounds, McGee ran the 40-yard dash in 4.98 seconds and was projected to be the No. 26 player at his position in this year's draft.
Regarding McGee, draft expert Dan Brugler of CBSSports.com cites "strong character and reliability issues and [he] was suspended several times over his career," most recently for a DUI charge that caused the ex-Sooner to miss his final game. Additionally, Brugler says the young lineman's downside includes "streaky effort and [he] doesn't always seem invested in the play."
The Raiders have already signed undrafted free-agent defensive end Kentrell Harris from Virginia Union, this after the recent signings of FA veterans Pat Sims and Vance Walker this spring. But there may still be need for additional help, and now is the time to find potential diamonds in the rough from this year's undrafted free agents.
One such candidate is ex-Scarlet Knights defensive lineman Scott Vallone. In his four-year Rutgers career, Vallone amassed 195 tackles in 51 consecutive starts and was first-team All-Big East this past season.
But in this age of numbers (40-yard dash time, broad jump distance, vertical leap height, shuttle drill time), Vallone doesn't stand out from the crowd. Because of that, he hopes to get a chance with an NFL team based upon his performance as a Division I defensive lineman.
Uninvited to the Combine, NFL scouts may have soured on Vallone's Pro Day numbers which saw him do 22 reps on a 225-pound bench press, post a 30.5" vertical jump, a 9'5" broad jump and a 4.49 shuttle time. At this time, Vallone remains unsigned, but there are a number of teams that may still be looking for serviceable free agents.
"I wish I would get more credit for skill and craftiness and quickness and strength, but that’s okay," Vallone explained (as quoted by Tom Luicci of The Star-Ledger). "Motor and technique stick in the NFL. I feel like all I need is for one team to take a chance on me, to understand that my strength is not in the 40 or on the bench but on film."
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