The Oakland Raiders did very little to address the defensive line this offseason. The one acquisition that the Raiders did make was in the third round of the NFL draft in Eddie Vanderdoes. With such a glaring need at the position group, why not try to add more talent?
The answer may be Mario Edwards Jr. Mario has been a somewhat forgotten man by many Raiders fans. The reason for this is because of the injury he received in the preseason that knocked him out for just about the entire season last year.
When healthy, however, the talent he has is unquestionable. In his rookie year, Mario Edwards started to give Khalil Mack the help he needed on the defensive line. Last year, Bruce Irvin was more than capable of handling that role. With Edwards back, working all three of them against offensive lines could end up being too much for offensive coordinators to plan for.
What makes Edwards so good, is, his ability to play all over the defensive line. He is big and strong enough to play interior defensive line and more than athletic enough to play defense end. With that kind of versatility, he has a chance to be a huge part of the Raiders defense this year.
Raiders GM, Reggie Mckenzie, recently said that Mario Edwards is, “extremely motivated because he wants to show the league that he’s a dominant football player.”
The reason I bring this up is because one of the problems with Edwards coming out of the draft was his lack of motivation, but with Reggie saying a comment like that, motivation seems to no longer be a problem.
In terms of athleticism, Mario Edwards is truly gifted. His ability to disrupt both the run and the pass game is elite at times. If Mario can manage to stay on the field this year, this Raiders defensive line could become scary good really fast.