Defensive end Arden Key joined the Las Vegas Raiders in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. After failing to make the impact the team expected, he may not be part of their long-term plans. One of the reasons why the team could part ways with him is because how he sees things.
In a recent conversation with Tashan Reed of the Athletic, Key opened up about the obstacles he faced when he started playing in the NFL. Among them, the LSU product mentioned injuries and the lack of direction he had back then.
Later in the interview, Key talked about his new approach and how he will now do things “the Arden Key Way.” Moreover, he thinks that the Raiders defensive line is great and there is no need to add more contributors.
Is the Raiders defensive line currently that good?
Recently, the Raiders toyed with the idea of adding EDGE defender Jadeveon Clowney. Although nothing has materialized just yet, the possibility isn’t out of the question. Teams such as the Browns have already dropped out from the Clowney sweepstakes, so the Silver and Black are free to sign him if they desire so.
The Raiders currently have $5.939 million in cap space. They would need to be get creative if they really wanted to add Clowney, but it’s doable.
The Raiders could use all the defensive line talent they can get their hands on. Last season, their defensive line had 32 sacks, an increase from 2018’s paltry 13. Nevertheless, they were still pushed around at times last season. The Silver and Black as a whole finished the year 21st in rushing touchdowns allowed and 27th in passing touchdowns. They simply weren’t generating enough pressure up front.
The Raiders did add Maliek Collins and Carl Nassib in the offseason. Furthermore, defensive ends Clelin Ferrell and Maxx Crosby are entering their sophomore campaigns, and they have the potential to trend up in 2020.
Where is Arden Key wrong?
The Raiders defensive line should see in increase of production in 2020 after all the moves they made. Of course, all teams are always looking for ways to improve even more and the Silver and Black are no exception. If they can get to an agreement with Clowney, they should. Maybe they can offer him a bigger-than-usual signing bonus, but the point is that Clowney could end up becoming an asset.
Key disagrees though. He believes the Raiders already have all the players they need.
We got everything we need in that D-line room, we don’t need nobody else. We don’t need no Clay Matthews, we don’t need no Jadeveon Clowney.
The LSU product thinks the Raiders defensive linemen can create enough pressure…
We don’t need none of that shit. … We got a lot of guys on (the defensive line) that can pass rush they ass off.
… but he is wrong. It’s true the Raiders defense looks better on paper, but it remains to be seen how they will fare on the field. Key sounds worried about someone else taking snaps away from him, self-preservation if you will.
The defensive ends also says that a lot of guys can “pass rush they ass off.” However, it’s not clear whom he is referring to. He may be talking about Crosby or Collins, but it definitely isn’t Key.
In his two years with the Raiders, Key’s responsible for three sacks and 24 solo tackles. Those aren’t the numbers of someone who can “pass rush his ass off.” If he really wants to contribute, he should do it on the practice field, not in the news bulletin. He should welcome the competition, and the chance for everyone to get better. Instead, Key comes across as insecure and afraid of losing his roster spot.
It’s not too late for Key though. Although his opportunities to show the Raiders they should keep him will be limited, Key still has time to enter a new career arc. He just needs to stop talking about it and do it.
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Top photo: Chris Booker/Las Vegas Review-Journal