Florida State coach Jimbo Fisher has proven to be unafraid of making some fairly bold NFL draft predictions, and while he's not calling his shot on junior defensive end Mario Edwards in terms of a round or even a declaration year, he's put the versatile star in some NFL-caliber company.
"That guy is as athletic and as dominant as any of the ends we've had," Fisher said, according to orlandosentinel.com.
That list includes a 2013 first-round pick in Bjoern Werner of the Indianapolis Colts, and 2013 fifth-rounder Brandon Jenkins of the Washington Redskins. Both of them, in fact, were athletic enough to transition from college defensive ends to NFL linebackers. At about 300 pounds, Edwards certainly won't be making any moves to linebacker at the NFL level. But according to Fisher, that doesn't mean he can't handle the demands of multiple positions.
"He can play D-tackle, he can play D-end, he can play a 9-technique, he can play a 7- or a 6-[technique]," Fisher said. "The guy is 305 pounds and can stand still and do back flips in front of you in full pads? I mean, he's athletic."
Edwards' performance in FSU's BCS National Championship Game win over Auburn in January was enough to make Fisher himself want to do a back flip (six tackles, three for losses, and a sack). For the year, however, he had just 3.5 sacks.
Not to worry, Fisher said.
"Sacks don't equate greatness. You watch that film, that guy is a heck of a football player," Fisher added. "You watch when that draft comes around, where he's at."
The ability to play multiple spots on a defensive front will certainly help Edwards' draft status, particularly if NFL scouts deem him a good fit for either a 4-3 or a 3-4 front. A bigger pile of sacks this fall, however, would certainly help, as well.