Oakland Raiders Mario Edwards Jr. Wants to Prove Doubters Wrong


May 8, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. (97) at rookie minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

When 2013 National Championship winner and Florida State Seminoles defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. was drafted in the second round by the Oakland Raiders many were surprised he was taken so highly. Names like Preston Smith and Randy Gregory still on the board, Edwards. Jr being a late second round, early third round projected prospect even with his winning reputation on the FSU defense in the past two seasons.

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Fans and analysts knocked the Raiders decision to draft Edwards Jr. because of those pre-draft projections, many feeling that general manager Reggie McKenzie reached for the defensive lineman in the face of better prospects that could have been aded to the Oakland roster. Something that soured what should have been an exciting moment for the now Raiders rookie, his pick not coming with the type of excitement that he had dreamed of with plenty of critics spoiling Edwards’ accomplishment.

The former fixture of the Seminoles pass rush is taking that experience of criticism during the draft as motivation for his rookie season, telling the media on Friday at 2015 Rookie Minicamp that he is looking forward to proving the naysayers wrong now that he is a member of the Raiders defense. A motivation that hopefully will help fans and analysts warm up to McKenzie’s second round pick who feels that he deserved to go to Oakland as highly as he did.

“There is a chip on my shoulder from just naysayers or people that criticize me so much,” Edwards said at his press conference during media availability on Friday. “Really, just I want to prove myself. I have a chip because I want to be the best that I can be. Other teammates and other people that came my way, I just want to go out there and prove that I am a good player.”

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“I just want to show everybody that’s pretty much the past as far as weight issues and everything that happened in college or whatever. The Raiders believed in me, and they gave me an opportunity and a chance and that’s all I needed – an opportunity to go out there and prove myself.”

Edwards Jr. comes to Oakland with a strong background with the Seminoles. Playing a big part in their 2013 National Championship win over Auburn before helping them stay undefeated until the first ever College Football Playoff where they fell short to Oregon. A starter on both of those teams, there is reason to believe that Edwards Jr. can be a starter in Oakland right away. If he can prove that during the offseason and find a contributing role in his rookie season, it will go a long way to proving the doubters wrong.

Next: Mario Edwards Jr. Film Room