After selecting Alabama wide receiver Amari Cooper in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, the Raiders entered round two with defensive end as their biggest need. Reggie McKenzie recognized this and addressed it by selecting Florida State defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. in the second round.
6'3", 279 lbs
40-YD Dash: 4.84
Bench Press: 32 reps
3-Cone Drill: 7.44 SEC
Broad Jump: 120-Inches
2014: 44 Tackles, 11 Tackles For Loss, 3 Sacks, 2 Forced Fumbles
2013: 28 Tackles, 9.5 Tackles For Loss, 2.5 Sacks, 1 Forced Fumble
2012: 17 Tackles, 2.5 Tackles For Loss, 1.5 Sacks
Mario Edwards Jr. is not a flashy pick by any means. But he is a solid selection as he addresses a top need and is versatile along the defensive line. Edwards has a high ceiling and possesses all of the physical tools NFL teams look for in a defensive end.
But while his ceiling is high, Edwards was inconsistent at Florida State as his weight often fluctuated and at one point topped over 300-pounds. This is when Edwards struggled as he lost all of his speed and just looked slow and lethargic. But once he cut the weight during the end of the season, Edwards became a human wreaking ball again creating havoc.
If the Raiders are getting the player at 275-pounds, then this is a great selection. While he is not an elite pass rusher, he is strong against the run and can take over a game with his talent.
How will Mario Edwards Jr. fit with the Raiders?
Edwards will be immediately penciled in as the starting left defensive end for the Raiders playing across from Justin Tuck. The addition of Edwards solidifies an impressive defensive line featuring Justin Tuck, Justin Ellis, Dan Williams, and Edwards.
Raiders linebacker coach Sal Sunseri is very familiar with Edwards as he was the Florida State defensive ends coach from 2013-2014. Sunseri likely vouched for his former player and convinced Head Coach Jack Del Rio and Defensive Coordinator Ken Norton Jr. that if they can coach Edwards up and keep him in shape, the sky is the limit.