Oakland Raiders: 5 Players To Watch In First Preseason Game

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May 8, 2015; Alameda, CA, USA; Oakland Raiders defensive end Mario Edwards Jr. (97) at rookie minicamp at the Raiders practice facility. Mandatory Credit: Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Mario Edwards Jr.

Oakland raised more than a few eyebrows when they used a second round pick on Edwards in this year’s draft. The Raiders addressed their need for a number one receiver by taking Amari Cooper in the first round, and most expected that they’d address their need for an edge rusher, somebody who could put some real pressure on the quarterback with their second round pick.

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  • With talented and proven edge rushers still on the board, there was a collective gasp, which was followed by a head scratching, “huh?” from the Raider Nation when Edwards’ name was announced – most are still scratching their heads, waiting to see if McKenzie and Del Rio are absolute geniuses who found a diamond in the rough, or absolute goats who blew a high pick.

    Over his time at Florida State, Edwards wasn’t exactly a sack machine, collecting just eight sacks over his three years. He also had a long history of weight issues limiting his explosiveness off the edge. At FSU, Edwards weighed in excess of 300 pounds.

    To his credit, Edwards acknowledges his shortcomings and trouble with his effort and attitude. Those are things he has taken steps to improve. His weight his around 280 at present, and he’s had a good showing through camp to this point.

    With defensive force Khalil Mack likely to see very limited action against the Rams, Edwards will likely see plenty of action. And the Raider Nation will get a chance to see, for the first time, what sort of player he is and can be.
    Edwards says he has a chip on his shoulder and an overwhelming desire to prove his critics wrong. Raider fans – and the organization itself – is certainly hoping that’s true, and that he can.

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