Arden Key epitomizes the Raiders’ boom-or-bust draft class

Looking for the epitome of the Oakland Raiders’ boom-or-bust draft class, coach Jon Gruden’s first in Oakland since 2001?

Look no further than the Raiders’ fourth of nine picks, a self-styled top-five talent who fell to the back of the third round, where Oakland snatched him up at No. 87.

Yes, there were character concerns when it came to Arden Key.cheap nfl jerseys nike china

“I went through some situations that caused me to be a third-round pick,” said the former LSU defensive end. “I’ve learned from those things, and this is the consequence of me going through what I went through. I’m a better person now than I was prior to it.”143

Boom? Key set a school single-season record with 12 sacks as a sophomore in 2016 and had 21 sacks in 31 career games for the Tigers. The Raiders, even with the presence of Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin, need help getting to the quarterback. If a healthy and motivated Key can address that need, he’s a draft steal.

Bust? Key, after being suspended for the 2016 season finale, took a leave of absence in the spring of 2017 — reportedly to go to rehab for marijuana use — and had a subpar season last fall with four sacks and five missed games due to injury as his weight got as high as 280 pounds. He was coming back from shoulder surgery in May and endured a knee injury as well as a broken right pinkie finger that required surgery. Can the Raiders truly trust him?

“He had a big season two years ago with 12 sacks, but even then, was too one-dimensional,” Kiper said. “The majority of his impact plays were versus the pass. He has to get stronger and has to become more polished in terms of pass-rush moves. [He] beat collegiate OTs with speed and has shown the ability to bend the edge. But he’ll need to convert speed to power in the NFL and also maintain the proper weight where he can maximize his talent.cheap youth nfl jerseys

“In the later portion of Round 3, he’s worth a roll of the dice. Jon Gruden always talks about closing out and finishing games. You do that by having multiple pass-rushers. That’s how the Eagles finished things off against Tom Brady and the Pats with Brandon Graham’s strip sack. Key brings that element if you can keep him focused on the job at hand and maximize all of his talent and athleticism.”