The Las Vegas Raiders have struggled on defense for years now. No matter what the team does, they can’t seem to figure out how to fix the issue. Arden Key was one of the players the team has drafted in recent years who was supposed to have an impact. Instead of developing into a sack artist, he had three sacks in three seasons before getting waived on Wednesday.
In recent years, we’ve seen players struggle on the Raiders but have success with other teams. Denico Autry and Shelby Harris are two notable names who come to mind. We should find out soon if Key is actually a good player who was stuck in a bad system. Based on a statement he released after getting waived, it sure sounds like he believes the Raiders were holding him back.
Arden Key issues a statement on his release.
(via IG:// ardenkey) pic.twitter.com/boBWCLQPTu
— Kenny King Jr (@KennyKing_Jr) April 17, 2021
The most notable line is when he says “THIS IS THE BEST THING THAT COULD HAVE HAPPENED TO ME!” That doesn’t sound like a guy who is upset to get cut by the team that drafted him.
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Will Key Have Success Elsewhere?
Key does have talent, there’s no doubt about it. He was a sack master at LSU and had 12.5 sacks as a sophomore. He also did show flashes for the Raiders. He looked really good at last year’s training camp and was expected to have a big season. That didn’t end up happening and now he’s looking for a new team.
At the end of the day, Key is undersized as a defensive end. The Raiders tried to get him to pack on weight but he could never keep it on. Perhaps he has upside as an outside linebacker in a 3-4 defense. He’s very similar to Aldon Smith, who had his best years in a 3-4 defense. If Key was smart, he would take that into account before signing with a new team. It wouldn’t be a surprise to see him have success elsewhere but he didn’t show much with the Raiders to suggest he has star potential.
Gus Bradley Could Fix the Raiders’ Issues
It’s easy to get mad at Key for throwing a bit of shade at the Raiders on his way out but he’s not wrong. Getting cut will probably be much better for his career. Former defensive coordinator Paul Guenther was in way over his head with this job. When he was in Cincinnati, he was surrounded by talented veterans to work with and had an elite defensive mind at head coach in Marvin Lewis.
There’s was no evidence that Guenther was equipped to take a bad defense filled with young players and develop it into a top unit. Now that he’s gone, the Raiders will be much better off. New defensive coordinator Gus Bradley has a great track record with developing young talent. He took players like Joey Bosa and Derwin James and turned them into superstars immediately. It’s very possible that all the young Raiders defenders aren’t bad players, they were just coached poorly.
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