Maligned Former Raiders DE & Draftee Signs With AFC Team

arden key

Getty Former Raiders DE Arden Key.

Heading into the 2018 NFL Draft, Arden Key was one of the most interesting players coming out. He looked like a top-five draft pick after he notched 12.5 sacks during his sophomore year at LSU. His play declined in his junior season, which led to him falling to the third round to the Raiders.

The hope was that his junior year was a fluke and he was actually the elite prospect he looked like as a sophomore. Key was never able to make a name for himself with the Raiders as he only had 3.0 sacks in three seasons. He showed flashes and there were times it looked like he could turn into an impact player but that never happened. He was cut before he reached his fourth season with the team.

Key landed with the San Francisco 49ers last season and had his best year yet. He ended the season with 6.5 sacks. He could be an ascending player and one team is giving him a chance. According to NFL Network’s Mike Garafolo, the Jacksonville Jaguars are signing the defensive end to a one-year deal worth $7 million.

The Jaguars have had a busy offseason and are likely to use their No. 1 overall draft pick to select a pass rusher. Key will be a good, young player to pair up with whoever they select.

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Why Do Raiders Fans Dislike Key?

Key was a player that Raiders fans had big expectations for but he never lived up to them. He could’ve simply left the team and moved on but he decided to take shots at them. After he signed with the 49ers, he couldn’t hide his excitement about getting cut.

“I definitely wanted to get out of there,” Key said of the Raiders last offseason. “I was more happy than surprised (about being waived). But hey, I got what I wanted.”

He even called out former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther’s system.

“It was just bad all around for me,” Key said. “Bad system — it just wasn’t the right fit for me.”

No Raider fan would defend Guenther as he had a rough stint with the team. However, Key made enemies with the fan base with those comments.

Raiders Have to Feel Good About Pass Rush

Key was a member of the Raiders when they had one of the worst pass rushes in the NFL. In 2020, the team had the fourth-least sacks in the NFL, they had the eighth least in 2019 and then the least in 2018. Luckily, things are changing for the team. Maxx Crosby has developed into a star and was rewarded a contract extension this offseason. Not only that, but the Raiders signed four-time Pro Bowler Chandler Jones.

Las Vegas is set to have one of the most intense pass rushes in the NFL this season as they now have one of the top duos. The Raiders still lack a great interior pass rusher but Jones and Crosby should more than makeup for it.

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