The Raiders are actually getting better in the front-seven this season. It has gone mostly unnoticed due to the team’s lackluster record in the first six weeks. A big reason that the defensive line has some bite to it is that defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. is finally healthy.
After struggling with consistency and injuries in his first two years out of Florida State, Edwards is proving every week why he was so highly touted as a second-round pick by the Raiders in 2015. He finds ways to be productive on just about every snap he is out there on the field of play.
Thursday will be a huge opportunity for him, as he will have to play with great discipline against a creative Chiefs offense. The Chiefs don’t have the best offensive interior, so Edwards could take advantage in run defense or even on the pass rush.
Perhaps the biggest key here for Edwards is to play with poise when Kareem Hunt and Tyreek Hill are on the field. Those are Kansas City’s two most versatile weapons. Both are very fast, but Edwards has the quick and physical nature to hopefully stop them in their tracks on jet sweeps and end-arounds.