The Jaguars are set to host another free agent defender. On Monday, Jacksonville reportedly met with former Titans' linebacker Rashaan Evans. According to Mike Garofolo, the Jags will meet with pass rusher Arden Key on Tuesday.
Key, who racked up a career-high 6.5 sacks in 2021, thrived in more of an interior pass-rush role for the 49ers. He stands 6'5" and weighs in at 240-pounds. The former highly-touted edge-rushing recruit didn't make the impact that many expected at LSU and had a slow start to his NFL career, registering just three total sacks for the Raiders in the first three years of his pro career. But Key thrived during his lone season in San Francisco, racking up 39 pressures and 6.5 sacks on only 310 pass-rush snaps last season. Key will turn 26 in May and is entering his fifth year in the NFL.
The Jaguars need pass-rush help. Former seventh overall pick Josh Allen is the unquestioned leader among the Jaguars' pass rushers, and he's developed into a quality starter with Pro Bowl upside. But Allen needs some help. Dawuane Smoot is serviceable but fits better in a rotational role than as a full-time starter. 2020 first-round pick K'Lavon Chaisson has failed to develop over the first two years of his career.
Assuming Jaguars' defensive coordinator Mike Caldwell can figure out how to use him similarly to the 49ers in 2021, Arden Key would undoubtedly aid the pass-rush. He shouldn't be viewed as a full-time starter or "the answer" across from Josh Allen, but could Arden Key fill a role as a rotational rusher for the Jaguars in 2022? You bet.
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