The Jacksonville Jaguars signed several players in free agency. One that might have flown under the radar was defensive end Arden Key, who logged two sacks against the Las Vegas Raiders in the Hall-of-Fame game.
The former LSU Tiger recently had a one-on-one conversation with Mia O’Brien of 1010 XL and touched on several topics, including his acclimation to Jacksonville and his outing against the Raiders. Key told O’Brien that he’s getting used to the heat in Duval County and said that he’s pleased with his performance in the HOF game.
"It felt good, finally getting back to the quarterback, and just something I’ve been working on for a while now, game and stuff like that. and it’s always a learning process as we go but I’m starting to get the pass rushing…"
Later in the interview, Key says that he feels ready to take on a leadership role.
"I’ve always been vocal. I’ve always been, I’ve always been a natural-born leader. I just haven’t stepped into that role. I wasn’t ready to step into that role. I think this year, being more mature in life and the things I went through in life, I think I’m ready for that."
A third-round pick by the Raiders in 2018, he spent the 2021 season with the San Francisco 49ers and signed a one-year deal worth $7 million with the Jags this offseason. He played 11 defensive snaps against the Raiders and posted a Pro Football Focus overall grade of 74.4.
The Jaguars are getting bang for their buck with Arden Key
Key is the perfect example of players sometimes needing more time than others to develop. He only had three sacks and was a non-factor during his three-year stint with the Raiders. He was waived last offseason and was promptly picked up by the Niners, where he went on to have a career year.
Having said that, Key could have an even better year with the Jaguars. So far, he’s had an impressive training camp, which led Demetrius Harvey of Florida Times-Union to call him the team’s X-Factor on defense.
This isn’t the first time Key has been dubbed the Jags’ X-Factor this offseason though and after his two-sack performance, it looks like the moniker is justified.
When everything is said and done, Key could be becoming the Jaguars’ biggest bargain of the offseason. Sure, $7 million isn’t spare change but if he can play at a high level, the team’s brass will be pleased with their investment.