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
Mario Edwards Jr.
When the Raiders drafted Mario Edwards Jr. back in May, many questioned it but it was a steal. He was a No. 1 recruit out of high school but didn’t have good numbers in college because of his position. Defensive ends in the 3-4 don’t usually have a lot of sacks plus he got up to 315 pounds to absorb double-teams.
As athletic as he still was, doing backflips at that weight, he tired his best and couldn’t consistently show his ability. But at the combine, he was trimmed down to around 280 pounds and ran a 4.8 40. He got down as far as 272 pounds for his pro day but the Raiders want him at 285, leading me believe they want him to be a 4-3 three-technique that can double in run stopping as well as do his primary job of pressuring the passer. Think Lamarr Houston during his time with the Raiders
Edwards’ ability to kick inside and play the three-technique is what many around the NFL are sleeping on. A good portion of the sacks Edwards had in college came from when he lined up as a three-technique. Bigger, slower guards will have a hard time staying with his speed and quickness on pass rushes plus he’s stout against the run.
Defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr. said of Edwards’ training camp during Tuesday’s press conference, “He’s doing some fantastic things. I mean the things we saw on the film when we scouted him, he’s a lot twitchier. He’s fast. He moves pretty good so we’re very, very, very happy with his development.”
Next: Keith McGill