Raiders

Raiders' Arden Key working at being 'more complete' before 2019 season

Raiders

ALAMEDA -- In order for the Raiders to succeed in 2019, they'll need a number of players to step up. 

While the Silver and Black are hoping for big contributions from the rookie class, the Raiders also will need their second-year players to build off their rookie campaign. 

The Raiders lacked a pass rush in 2018. Clelin Ferrell, the No. 4 overall pick, should help with that, but coach Jon Gruden and defensive coordinator Paul Guenther also will need Arden Key to become a productive edge rusher in 2019.

Key, the Raiders' third-round pick in 2018, saw more time on the field than anticipated during his rookie year due to Khalil Mack being traded and Bruce Irvin being cut. But despite the high amount of snaps, Key only recorded one sack in 2018. 

The Raiders hope Key can emerge as a pass rusher on the opposite side of Ferrell, but the LSU product will need to be able to put on weight, gain strength and become a better finisher in order to do that.

Oakland kicked off its organized team activities program Tuesday, and Gruden noted Key was still working on reaching the goals set for him. 

"You know, Arden is -- all our second-year players I think have been impressive, the way they have worked," Gruden said."We'd like to see Arden, you know, be 260 pounds someday, 257 pounds someday. He's working toward that ... He's got to be stronger to be more complete and I think it's going to take a little time. But he is working at it and I got a lot of respect for that." 

 

Key entered the NFL at 238 pounds so it will take some time for him to put on that amount of weight in the right way.

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On Tuesday, Key took reps with the second-team defense at right defensive end. Run defender Josh Mauro got first-team reps on the left side with Ferrell getting the first-team spot at right defensive end. 

The Raiders have high hopes for Key, but he still has a ways to go to be the player they need him to be.