2017 looks to be the year for defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. to prove he was worth such a high pick coming out of Florida State. Oakland used a second-round pick out of the defensive line prospect in the 2015 NFL Draft. A litany of injuries have robbed him of such great promise his first two years in the league.
When healthy, Edwards is a bona fide disruptor on the defensive line. He is keen on bringing down players in the opposition’s backfield, run or pass. With his combination of size and quickness, Edwards has the ability to line up at several spots along the Raiders defensive line, making it very difficult to force him off the field.
Of all the players on the Raiders defensive line, Edwards is probably the closest thing to a blue-chip prospect the Silver and Black have. Sure, third-round rookie Eddie Vanderdoes may have more raw football talent, but Edwards was the more consistent player at his Power 5 school.
Like Ellis can do at defensive tackle, Edwards can be a leader on this Raiders defensive line and push his teammates around him to be better. However what sets him apart from Ellis is his inherent versatility to play in a handful of techniques to create different looks scheme-wise for defensive coordinator Ken Norton Jr.