There’s been a lot of chatter surrounding the idea the Las Vegas Raiders are planning on going after Yannick Ngakoue or Jadeveon Clowney. While both players are great and would help the team’s defense, they may not need help. Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby have high expectations heading into the season but there could be a 2018 draft pick who still makes an impact.
Multiple reports have been coming out of training camp that Arden Key is looking really good. Raiders insider for Sports Illustrated Hondo Carpenter had some very strong praise for the defensive end.
“Arden Key is playing out of his mind,” Carpenter wrote last week. “He is flourishing under Rod Marinelli. He listens, gives 100% effort, and doesn’t repeat mistakes. He is playing like a starter. Will he? Who knows, but he is playing with confidence and looks agile, hostile, and mobile.”
Key has always been a bit of an unknown quantity for the Raiders. He was a dominant pass rusher during his second year at LSU and it looked like he was a lock to be a first-round pick. However, he had issues during his junior year which caused him to fall in the draft. The Raiders took a chance on him in the third round and the hope was that he’d be able to recapture the magic that made him look like a future star.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t been the case. He only has three sacks in 23 career games played and has been hampered with multiple injuries. Things seem different this year. He’s been impressive everybody at camp and Vic Tafur of The Athletic named him as the top riser on the roster. This could be the year he finally breaks out.
Mike Mayock Praises Key
With the decision to cut P.J. Hall after only two years, it’s clear the Raiders aren’t overly loyal to anybody, no matter how high they were drafted. If Key would’ve shown up to camp out of shape and didn’t look good, he probably would’ve been cut already. Now, it looks like he could be an important member of the defensive line. General manager Mike Mayock had a good feeling about Key before he even hit the practice field.
“I think this offseason was different for him,” Mayock said Tuesday. “Even though we weren’t in the building, I sensed a different Arden Key. I think his commitment to the organization, and even more importantly, the commitment to his talent he had himself, those were both evident and I think they’re showing up right now.”
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Key Talks Rob Marinelli
A big that could’ve been make or break for Key this offseason was how he got along with new defensive line coach Rod Marinelli. Fortunately for him, it’s sounding like the decision to hire the veteran coach has helped him progress.
“He’s just like the grandpa that you always want who gives you whatever you want but asks a lot from you,” Key said of Marinelli on Wednesday. “You don’t really have a choice but to buy in with a guy like Coach Marinelli because you know you’re going to get better and you know you’re going to get pushed. ”
Marinelli is one of the most respected defensive minds in the NFL. Key was smart to trust the coach and it could be what turns his career around.