Two weeks ago Jon Gruden spoke of Arden Key’s weight, suggesting that the edge rusher has yet to reach where the team would like him to be. Key was a slender 6-5, 238 pounds when the Raiders made him their selection in the third round of the 2018 draft. He was known for having terrific bend around the edge and looked fantastic in training camp, but come the season, he just couldn’t get to the quarterback as often as he should have.
Part of Key’s development was to get stronger. Adding muscle means adding weight. Just how much weight seems to be a point of contention.
“We’d like to see Arden be 260 pounds someday, 270 pounds someday,” Gruden said following the first OTA session last month. This suggests that Key is probably hovering around 250 pounds.
Tuesday, Defensive Coordinator Paul Guenther was asked where Key was weight wise, and his take on Key’s expected weight was very different than Gruden’s.
“He’s right where we’re at,” Guenther said of Key. “I know there are some reports where [they say] he’s light. We drafted Arden to be a third-down rusher. That’s what it was. You don’t want to be a 260-pound slug out there. He knows exactly where we want him to be weight-wise, and his strength and conditioning is a progress thing for him right now.”
With the way the Raiders coaching staff is set up, Gruden is pretty hands-off when it comes to the defense, so Guenther knows far better what he wants from his defensive players.
Gruden also spoke of the need for more a defensive end who can rush on more than just third down. That’s where Clelin Ferrell comes in. He is 6-4, 267 pounds and is a three-down defensive end. Key is not. And they don’t expect him to be. With the trade of Khalil Mack and the eventual waiving of Bruce Irvin, Key was forced into three-down duties and that’s just not what the Raiders want from him. At least not right now.