Oakland Raiders: 5 Players To Watch Against The Cardinals

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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.

Suffice it to say, using Oakland’s second round pick on Mario Edwards Jr. this year was not a move met with much popularity by the Raider faithful. Desperately needing a legit pass rusher, many an eyebrow was raised by the selection of a guy who amassed a grand total of eight sacks throughout his college career at Florida State.

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  • And in his first game against the Rams in week one, many, if not all, of those howling in outrage about the selection of Edwards were screaming “I told you so!” as they watched him get pushed around the field by everybody but the St. Louis mascot – and that was only because the mascot isn’t allowed on the field.

    For his part, Edwards chalked it off to rookie jitters and getting used to the speed of the pro game. And watching him play against the Vikings, it looks like there may have been something to that. Against Minnesota, Edwards was pretty disruptive coming off the edge, recording a couple of quarterback hurries as well as combining with linebacker Ben Heeney on a strip sack that the Raiders recovered.

    Overall, Edwards looked far more comfortable on the field, and with the pace and speed of the game. He certainly produced in his second game. But will that production continue? Will Edwards continue to develop into the pass rushing beast GM Reggie McKenzie and Jack Del Rio thought they were getting when they drafted him?

    They thought they’d found a diamond in the rough with Edwards, and given his showing against Minnesota, it almost looks like they may have been on to something. But he’s going to have to continue to develop and adapt to the pro game. That makes him worth watching against Arizona, who has a big, beefy line. Will he be able to overcome it and have another solid game?

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