Arden Key Focused and Working During His “Time Off”

Arden Key Oakland Raiders

The 2018 NFL Draft will be noted – for now – for some of the larger gambles Reggie McKenzie and Jon Gruden took on drafting some of the young players they did. One of those “risky” players is the talented Arden Key.

The Raiders made a bit of a splash when they traded up two spots in order to draft Arden Key in the 3rd round of the 2017 NFL Draft. Prior to last season, Key was widely considered a Top 5 prospect before injury dropped his production. During the lead up to the draft, Arden’s stock took another hit as scouts questioned his personal “discipline” noting his four-month absence from the team for “personal reasons.” Those concerns were obviously overblown and it looks thus far as Raiders GM Reggie McKenzie has a future star on his hands.

In his three seasons at LSU, Arden Key posted 129 total tackles with 24.5 of them being tackles for loss. He forced 3 fumbles, recovered 2 fumbles, and was even credited with 4 passes defended. Of course with any EDGE player, the only number people care about is sacks. Key had 20 of them while playing in only 31 games. His sophomore season of 2016 saw him post 11 sacks in 11 games. Getting to the quarterback is what Key is all about as head coach Jon Gruden pointed out.

“Arden Key can do the one thing that very few people can do in this draft and that’s rush the passer,” Gruden said. “We’re happy to get him in the third round.”

As soon as Arden Key was drafted fellow EDGE Bruce Irvin began serving as a mentor. Irvin even took to Twitter telling the rookie: “We gon keep you away from the bulls***, just be ready to work”. That message clearly resonated with Key as he spent Friday doing just that.

If there were any remaining questions regarding Key’s dedication and ability to transition into a professional football player, they are clearly being answered. A player with Arden Key’s natural talent who also has a great work ethic will make an impact. Key got in some work with a great defensive line coach in Arron Day of DLineVids today.

“We just worked on pass rush drills,” Day told me. “And hand fighting drills along with some conditioning to get ready for training camp.”

The idea of Key getting even better should worry NFL quarterbacks. With players like EDGE Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin to learn from and play with, he is going to make a name for himself. If he continues to put in the work he has been thus far, it will be a name everyone knows.