I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can.
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Mario Edwards, DE, Florida State - 6'3, 279 - Junior - 4.84 40
With the final days before the NFL Draft, I wanted to make another pass on the positions of need in Dallas and cross-reference it with the players who have visited Valley Ranch on the list of Cowboys prospects they have brought to town to visit with more to make sure we haven't missed any top players. High on that list of players we have not worked on is the son of a former Dallas Cowboys draft pick and player, Mario Edwards, Jr, the DE from Florida State.
Edwards is a guy who has been on the national radar since he was a young high school player as the #1 recruit at DT in his year, and has also been on draft watch lists all throughout his Florida State run. To analyze his skills, we grabbed his Oregon, Florida, and Auburn 2013 games to get a reasonable look at his skill set.
Edwards wears #15 for the Seminoles.
What I liked: Edwards is a very "football strong" man who is able to stand his ground at the point of attack about as well as any player in his weight class. He tossed Jake Fisher back and forth in the Rose Bowl and many think Fisher is a Top 20 pick. He is a real handful as a strong-side defensive end (although he played RDE in college) where you will not be able to push him off his spot with one guy. With that, he adds reasonably capable pass rush ability that is not flashy at all, but when he is on his game he will run down players and make stops on plays that get extended because you cannot hold him off. Against Auburn in 2013 he was a beast that would not let Nick Marshall pass on that zone read. He is not the type of player to run the zone read against as the unblocked man, because he moves very well for a man of his size. He has explosive tests results, including the best broad jump of his group. He seems like a solid DE who can move inside on pass rush downs in a 4-3 or a natural 5-technique in a 3-4.
What I did not like: There are several things I have questions about. One is wondering why his weight has been all over the place over the course of his Florida State career. He was 270, then 300, now back to 270. I think the lighter weight is the better plan, but even then, his pass rush is ordinary. There is almost no point where he penetrates off the snap or turns the corner on an edge rush in the games I looked at. In other words, his highlight tape is the exception, and not the rule. His plays in the backfield are rare in most games and his production of 3 sacks and 11 TFL's for one of the most talented players on the field is not what we are looking for at the college level. He just doesn't seem like his motor runs hot and that he is particularly twitchy when it comes to being able to shake offensive linemen on a regular basis. Once in a while it appears, but I need more to get too excited.
Summary: I have heard it said that you cannot judge a player like this when he is 20 years old because he is just starting to figure it out. His upside is far better than his tape. That might be true, however, while his tape does show moments like the ones that appear on this page, but there are also full games where you hardly notice him. If, like Eddie Goldman, that was all true, but I saw a satisfactory work-rate in the games, I would be more excited, but I give Edwards a pretty lukewarm review because sometimes he seems to kind of sleep-walk through his games.
I am confident he will be solid when he finds a weight and a position and he might become more than solid if he keeps the fire burning when he is 24 and wealthy. But, for now, this talk of a 1st round pick being placed on Edwards is tough for me to figure. That said, if he is available in the late 2nd as a strong-side defensive end opposite DeMarcus Lawrence, there would be reason to believe you have something here. He has all the traits and promise of upside, but I wanted to see a dominating beast at Florida State and over these last few years of watching him, it did not appear nearly often enough.
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