Edwards Jr.’s role
During his rookie season, Mario Edwards Jr. burst onto the scene as someone who looked to be a cornerstone for this defense moving forward. Edwards was the Raiders second round pick back in the 2015 NFL Draft, and while an injury cut his rookie season short, he played well enough to warrant the Raiders feeling he was a big part of their future.
However, Edwards missed most of his sophomore campaign due to a hip injury, appearing in only two games during the 2016 season. In 2017, Edwards made 14 starts, racking up a career-high 3.5 sacks, though, like the rest of the defense, his season was seen as quite the disappointment.
In 2018, Bruce Irvin will be making a full-time move to defensive end, which means Edwards is most certainly out of a starting job. In addition to Irvin being added to the position group, Arden Key was a third round pick of the Raiders in the draft, and many have compared him, skill-wise, to Aldon Smith.
The fact of the matter is, Edwards has a serious bullseye on his back, especially after being challenge by Jon Gruden back in March. He is going to have to fight for snaps in year four, and if he cannot crack the top of the depth chart, his tenure with the team could be coming to an end sooner than expected.