Two years ago, shortly before the 2015 draft, Mike Garafolo tweeted the following:
Florida St DE Mario Edwards Jr. visited the Patriots, has visits with Texans and Seahawks to come. Seattle would have to move up to get him.
— Mike Garafolo (@MikeGarafolo) April 15, 2015
It followed a piece by Jason La Canfora where he touted Edwards Jr as a top-20 pick. At the time it was a bit of a surprise. He hadn’t played much football in 2014 due to injury. There wasn’t much hype going into the draft — or even after the combine.
He ended up being the #35 pick that year, taken by the Oakland Raiders. His pro-career has been similarly injury hit. Today I spent some time looking into Seattle’s reported interest. What intrigued them about Edwards Jr?
We didn’t have TEF in 2015 (Trench Explosion Formula). If we had, we would’ve had clarity — and we would’ve been able to identify Edwards Jr as a possible target long before April.
If you missed our coverage last year and want to know what TEF is, click here.
While TEF was devised mainly to test offensive linemen, overall it’s a good system to compare any player competing in the trenches. More often than not the most explosive player will win a 1v1 battle (see: freak of nature Aaron Donald). It’s not unfair to use a similar formula to judge offensive and defensive linemen.
It helped us identify Sheldon Rankins as one of the most explosive players in the draft last year. Despite being mocked frequently to Seattle, TEF guided us against the likelihood of him lasting into the 20’s. Unsurprisingly he was taken by New Orleans at #12.
Rankins’ TEF score was a mightily impressive 3.52 beating Robert Nkemdiche (3.47), Noah Spence (3.46) and Yannick Ngakoue (3.44).
So what was Mario Edwards Jr’s TEF score based on his combine workout in 2015?
He didn’t necessarily look like a freak in terms of his body type — but he was a complete monster. A superior athlete to Rankins, Nkemdiche and every other defensive or offensive linemen in the entire 2016 draft.
Two years ago we probably focused on an Okay-ish forty yard dash of 4.84 or a slightly disappointing 10-yard split of 1.76. I wrote a whole article talking about how he didn’t really shine on tape as a pass rusher. Note to self: this is a team that likes to acquire talent and coach it up.
Some teams in the NFL, including possibly the Seahawks, were likely focusing on his explosive testing. That’s probably where La Canfora’s sources were coming from when he was talking about a top-20 grade.
Without the injury history, he probably would’ve cracked that range.
The combine starts later in the calendar this year, with the first set of workouts beginning on March 3rd. We probably need to be looking for prospects like Edwards Jr that are in the 275-290lbs range with a truly explosive physical profile. More so, perhaps, than focusing on a forty or split (unless it’s a pure EDGE). They’ll be easier to uncover thanks to TEF.
So while it’s fun to salivate over Demarcus Walker’s sensational ability to get off a block, look at Taco Charlton’s intimidating size and Derek Barnett’s fantastic career at Tennessee — we still need to see a physical profile before attempting to judge their fit in the draft.
Expect Solomon Thomas to have a remarkable TEF score and ultimately go in the top-10 (if not the top five).