No. 4 Jaguars player that could surprise us in 2022 – Arden Key, DE.
After being one of the most active and aggressive teams in the NFL on the first three days of this year’s free agency, it looked like the Jaguars wouldn’t be making any other additions until after the draft. But they signed former San Francisco 49ers defensive end Arden Key to bolster their pass rush.
Now, signing Key doesn’t negate the need to add a bookend edge defender opposite outside linebacker Josh Allen and there’s a good chance that the Jags will take Michigan defensive end Aidan Hutchinson with the first overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. However, Key could become an important contributor.
Key isn’t as distinguished as Allen or Hutchinson but he’s coming off a year in which he posted a career-high 6.5 sacks. This is noteworthy when you take into account that the former LSU Tiger was a non-factor in three seasons with the Las Vegas Raiders, the team that selected him in the third round of the 2018 draft.
Maybe a change of scenery is what Key needed and that’s what he got in San Francisco. He joins defensive line coach Brentson Bucker in Jacksonville and he should keep trending up in 2022. Key won’t probably have a feature role in the Jaguars’ defense but he should be an important part of their defensive line rotation. Even if he only plays in obvious passing situations and third down, he should pick up where he left off last season.