What role will Mario Edwards play for Chicago Bears

Parker Hurley
Chicago Bears - Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports
Chicago Bears - Credit: Steve Roberts-USA TODAY Sports /

When looking at the Chicago Bears’ interior defensive line, it is hard not to see Mario Edwards having a big role. The team will rely on Justin Jones and Angelo Blackson as their starters, but neither has taken a full workload, and both will need some depth to support them.

The team is rather weak on the interior with Edwards and Khyris Tonga as the two likely to fill in for them. Tonga is a nose tackle without much versatility, so his role is locked in, but Edwards is different.

Edwards has spent half of his career as a defensive end, and half inside as a tackle. As the league has moved more towards nickel as the base, and as Edwards has picked up more weight, he has been classified more as a defensive tackle, although he can often line up on the edge to defend the run.

The Chicago Bears edge rusher group does not have a strong run defender, so you may be seeing him slide into that role at times. Still, with the depth on the interior, the Bears are going to be relying on Edwards to take a step forward here.

The Colts had a similar player to this in 2020 with Denico Autry. DeForest Buckner and Grover Stewart were the two interior linemen. Justin Houston and Al-Quadin Muhammad were the edges, and Autry moved up and down the defensive line in between them. Here you can see them use Autry off of the edge, and here he is rushing from the interior.

He stopped the run on the edge and got after the passer next to Bucker, increasing his production. Autry excelled in 2020 and signed a big contract with the Titans in 2021.

Mario Edwards could be in a similar position. Autry was not a big-name star, and his best years were with the Colts in this defense. Both are around 280 pounds, which is the tweener category, and both have been productive at times, but need to be in the right scheme.

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At the very least, Matt Eberflus and his staff know how to use a player that has inside-outside versatility. It was the best thing that could have happened to Denico Autry, and the Chicago Bears may be looking for the same thing from Mario Edwards.