Oakland Raiders: Notes And Observations From Preseason Game #2

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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

8. Mario Edwards Jr. Is Developing – Slowly

A week after looking like a dazed and confused rookie – and subsequently getting pushed all over the field by the Rams – Edwards at least showed up against the Vikings. He combined with Heeney for the strip sack of Minnesota’s Heinicke and wasn’t nearly as listless as he was the previous week.

More from Derek Carr

The Raiders though, need more from Edwards. And they need it quickly. Fans and many around the league were a little more than skeptical when Reggie McKenzie and Jack Del Rio burned a second round pick on a guy who had racked up a mere eight sacks over his college career at Florida State. And given the Raiders’ desperate need for a pass rusher, Edwards’ lack of production seems especially glaring at the moment.

If the Raiders are going to improve a pass rush that was among the worst in the league last season, they are going to need Edwards to step it up. Having Khalil Mack on the edge opposite Justin Tuck gives the Raiders a fiercer rush, and both have been solid in putting pressure on the opposing quarterbacks, but one gets the sense that Del Rio and DC Ken Norton Jr. want to have the flexibility to move Mack around the defensive front to give them more options and angles for him to take to the quarterback. Which means that Oakland is going to need a dependable presence on the edge such as Benson Mayowa, Shelby Harris (who has really shined this preseason), Max Valles, or of course, Edwards.

In short, Edwards needs to step it up and he needs to do it in a hurry.

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