Guenther: Raiders Drafted Arden Key To Become A Third-Down Rusher

Last year was an up and down rookie season for Arden Key, who was essentially forced into a full-time role when the Raiders traded Khalil Mack just a week before the season opener. Key got pushed around at times as a rookie and the team wants him to add strength, but even if he adds weight it doesn’t sound like Key’s role will be quite the same this year.

“I know there are some reports that he’s light, but we drafted Arden to become a third-down rusher,” Raiders defensive coordinator Paul Guenther told reporters yesterday. “We don’t want a 260-pound slug out there. He knows exactly where we want him to be weight-wise and his strength and conditioning is a progress thing for him right now.”

For what it’s worth, the report Guenther was talking about came from The Athletic’s Vic Tafur.

“I think Arden Key, we’ve talked about him, is a big question mark still,” Tafur said on The Athletic’s State of the Nation podcast in May. “[Key] didn’t really put on the weight that they wanted him to. He’s still lifting weights right now and who knows what his production will be next year.”

Looking back to Guether’s statement on Key, it’s interesting that Guenther said he didn’t want Key to be a 260-pound slug. The Raiders list Key at 238 pounds. Which begs the questions… what actually is Key’s target weight (around 250?) and where is he at now (probably somewhere still around 240)?

Moving forward, it will be interesting to see who the Raiders choose to roll out at defensive end on early downs other than Clelin Ferrell. Just a guess, but expect defensive end to be a position the Raiders sniff around the trade and/or free agent market a little more between now and the start of the season.

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