Jon Gruden Has High Hopes For Mario Edwards Jr.

Jon Gruden didn’t add a significant interior pass rusher in free agency, but he does have a plan to get better at the position.

Speaking to reporters in Orlando at league meetings, Gruden sounded like a coach hoping to get a lot more productive from Mario Edwards Jr., the Raiders second-round pick in 2015.

“Mario Edwards, if you’re listening out there, if we can get that inside rush going… that’s what Warren Sapp did for Simeon Rice,” Gruden said Wednesday via The Athletic. “It’s tough for the quarterback to step up, and if the quarterback can’t step up, these great pass rushers can have a feast.”

Edwards Jr. is listed as a defensive end on the official team roster, but his role will look a little different under defensive coordinator Paul Guenther.

A bit of a surprise pick for the Raiders when he was selected, Edwards Jr. hasn’t come close to maximizing his talent in the NFL – which was also true of his college career at Florida State.

Maybe MEJ can put it all together in 2018, and if that happens, the Raiders will have to spend a lot to keep him around because he becomes a free agent after the 2018 season.

If for no other reason, maybe Edwards Jr. will jumpstart his career knowing a hefty paycheck could be right around the corner.

twitter: @raidersbeat


2 thoughts on “Jon Gruden Has High Hopes For Mario Edwards Jr.

  1. He has been so injury prone. Either way, he will look a lot better with Vita Vea starting next to him. Vea will be the key to change this defense. Got to draft him at #10.

    1. Doubt it, though vea was only day 2 combine interviewee, right after we resigned Ellis at 4.5 yr. With all current wholes prob not best use of cap space as Vea is seen as Nose Tackle and Nose tackles don’t get paid ****. If that was our only real need sure. But I’d rather see them take a position that commands high dollar to fill in FA like CB, edge or 3 tech DT, WR do but can be had in later rounds much like a DT.

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