Breakdown: Raiders Select Mario Edwards Jr.

Everything you need to know about the Oakland Raiders' second-round selection of defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. out of Florida State from Scout's college and pro football experts.

Awaiting Image
Mario Edwards
Florida State / 6'3 / 279 lbs
  • DE
  • [2] #3

Analysis

Edwards was good at FSU but never quite lived up to the billing of five-star status and the top ranked defensive end in the 2012 class. Edwards started in 26 of the 36 games he played for the 'Noles. He recorded 89 tackles, eight sacks and 23 tackles for a loss. Edwards is best suited to be a 3-4 defensive end but could add weight and move inside to defensive tackle in a 4-3. He has good length, large hands and is a strong player at the point of attack. Edwards has pretty good quickness and shows the ability to re-direct in space.

Dave-Te' Thomas Player Evaluation

Instant Analysis from Scout's Jamie Newberg:

The Raiders bolstered their defensive front, picking FSU defensive end Mario Edwards. He was good at FSU but never quite lived up to the billing of five-star status and the top ranked defensive end in the 2012 class. Edwards started in 26 of the 36 games he played for the 'Noles. He recorded 89 tackles, eight sacks and 23 tackles for a loss. Edwards is best playing with his weight in the 280-pound range. He has good length, large hands and is a strong player at the point of attack. Edwards has pretty good quickness and shows the ability to re-direct in space. He joins an Oakland team that only produced 22 sacks last season.

Report from NFL Scouting Services' Dave-Te' Thomas:

Expected to red-shirt in 2012, Mario Edwards was thrust into the lineup as a freshman when injuries depleted the line’s depth in 2012. He took over right end chores in 2013, posting a “pedestrian” 28 tackles, but 9.5 stops came behind the line of scrimmage. Everyone was expecting the junior to have a breakout 2014 season and then bolt for the pro ranks, but with 44 tackles, three sacks and two pressures to go with 11.0 stops-for-loss, any hopes for being a first round pick have all but disappeared.

Edwards has good arm length and reach, showing a tight abdomen and a frame that can carry at least another ten pounds of bulk with no loss in quickness, as he has the stout frame to slide inside and play tackle, but is more likely a 3-4 end in the NFL. He has the balance and agility to shoot the gaps and make plays in the backfield, showing good lateral pursuit ability.

The Seminole is a strong wrap-up tackler who is still working on developing better hand usage, but he compensates with excellent playing strength. His versatility could see him be fit as a possible under-tackle in a 4-3 defense or align outside as an end in a 3-4 formation, but his previous weight issues make him unlikely to be a full-time linebacker at the next level, unless he can maintain a lower weight.

Edwards plays at a high pad level, using his strength effectively to push the blockers back through the rush lanes. He has the short area burst to string plays wide. When he stays at a good pad level, it makes it very difficult for defenders to move him off his anchor. The Seminole needs to use his hand punch more often and must do a better job of keeping those hands inside his frame. He has the upper body strength to impact a ball carrier with a good thud. He will drop his hands quite a bit, which lets blockers get into his chest.

As a pass rusher, Edwards has good first-step quickness – just not elite. He has a nice variety of pass rush moves and possesses enough quickness to get around edge, but needs to show better quickness executing his hands on rip- and swim-moves. While his get-off from the snap is quick, his closing burst is just average. He does get his hands up in passing lanes when seeing the quarterback start his wind-up, resulting in seven break-ups and one interception as a Seminole.

Edwards has nice bull-rush moves, as he consistently gets under the blocker's pads and pushes them into the backfield. He tries hard to get to the quarterback, but must do a better job locating diving blockers, as he does not do a good job of protecting his feet. He can sniffs out misdirection and quick screens to his side, but is not really that agile working in space.

Edwards keeps his feet moving after initial contact, but is inconsistent disengaging from the blocks of better linemen. He needs to be more violent with his hands and take advantage of his speed vs. slower blockers tackles. One important reason to doubt that he will be a blitzing linebacker at the next level is that he has only adequate flexibility and change-of-direction agility to turn the corner or be effective on twists.

In the trenches, Edwards has good hand strength, but he must learn counter pass-rush moves to get past tackles at the next level, as he tends to lose his balance and backfield awareness when attempting the occasional spin move.

As a run defender, Edwards has above-average core and upper-body strength. He has the ability to play with leverage when defending the edge and his initial punch will generally rock the offensive linemen back, but he will occasionally be engulfed by more powerful offensive tackles when caught in a phone booth situation. He moves decently when trying to execute laterally, but displays tightness in hips with any sudden change of direction.

Mario Edwards NFL Scouting Combine measurables


6-3/279 (4.84 forty)
33 1/4-inch arm length
10 7/8-inch hands
32-reps
32.5-inch vertical jump
120-inch broad jump
7.44 3 cone drill
4.55 20 yard shuttle

Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.

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