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Mario Edwards, Jr.
- Position: Edge Setter (ES)
- Class: Junior
- College: Florida State
- Ht/Wt: 6'3", 279 pounds
I was expecting more from Mario Edwards when I saw his film. I wondered if Edwards was being overshadowed somewhat, playing on a star-studded Florida State roster with more heralded prospects like Eddie Goldman, P.J. Williams, Ronald Darby, and some of the players not yet eligible for the draft. Edwards has a good set of tools. He's built in between the traditional height-weight combos for a defensive end and defensive tackle, which gives him versatility; he is capable of lining up anywhere from a strong-side linebacker role (e.g. Pernell McPhee) to a three-technique defensive tackle.
Edwards has a strong core, good overall athleticism, and moves well around the field. He anchors well against defensive linemen, and was often double-teamed, holding his ground against tackle-fullback and tackle-halfback combos. When his hand placement is good, Edwards is able to bring out a rip and shoot the gap for a stop. He is capable of easily keeping contain on the edge, assuming he keeps the ball carrier in his vision.
The biggest issue I have with Edwards is just that he didn't do a whole lot on tape. He spent a lot of time in shoving matches with linemen, rarely achieving results. There was no consistent explosion in his pass rush, and he didn't convert speed to power. He would lose sight of ballcarriers, giving the edge to them even when it was clear his responsibility was contain. The tape I saw didn't really encourage me as to Edwards' long-term prospects. The best I could take away from it was that Edwards spent slightly less than half of his snaps double-teamed, and that would limit his production and speak to the notion that teams respected him enough to commit extra blockers to stopping him.
As I read about Edwards following my film study, I saw one NFL scout quoted as saying that Edwards is frustrating to watch because he looks content to stay blocked by lesser players, and that he has the talent to be much better. I absolutely agree. If I'm looking at a guy like Edwards versus Henry Anderson, the Stanford lineman who is disruptive almost to a fault (going so fast he falls to the ground now and then), I would rather take Anderson 10 times out of 10. Edwards has the pedigree, the big-school experience, the size, and the athleticism. But the production just isn't there, and I can't count on things I can't see. I have Edwards graded as a late third-round or early fourth-round type of prospect. If he could light a fire in his game and improve his technique, he could be a valuable contributor to Buffalo's defensive line. I just don't know if he will.