Two years ago, in Jon Gruden’s first draft in his second go-round with the then-Oakland Raiders, the organization honed in on LSU pass-rusher Arden Key.
Key was considered to be an upper-first round talent coming into the draft. But he had some off-field issues that red flagged him and dropped him in the draft. However, the Raiders loved his talent and didn’t hesitate to take Key in the third round.
Two years into Key’s NFL career and he has yet to make a real impact or show that he should be part of the long-term defensive plan for the Raiders.
To his credit, Key hasn’t had any public off-field issues since being drafted. Yet, he hasn’t done much on the field. After his rookie season in which he was on the field often, the Raiders realized Key is best suited to be a rotational player. Still, his impact has been minimal.
Key, 6-foot-5, 240 lbs, has three sacks in two seasons. He missed nine games due to injury last season.
With the instant impact made by Maxx Crosby as a rookie and the three-year, $25-plus million deal the Raiders gave Carl Nassib this offseason, Key may be sliding down the depth chart.
If the Raiders take a pass rusher fairly high, Josh Uche of Michigan perhaps — Key could be further buried.
Regardless of what the Raiders do in the draft, they should still keep an open mind about Key in 2020. He won’t turn 24 until next month and the word is new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli is excited to work with Key.
So, while his chances may be running out and the Raiders could add more pass rushers soon, Key still could have some time to prove himself.