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NFL Free Agent profile: Defensive Lineman Arden Key

Could the Broncos be interested in versatile defensive lineman Arden key to bolster their pass rush?

San Francisco 49ers v Los Angeles Rams Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

Thanks to the Denver Broncos coaching search, we’re getting a very late start on profiling some key free agents ahead of the new league year. Scheme has a lot to do with who makes sense as a FA and who doesn’t.

The Broncos need more help along the defensive line, and Arden Key totaled 8 sacks this season. Does he make sense and how does he fit?

Player Profile

Height: 6-5
Weight: 240 pounds
Age: 25 years old
Experience: 4 seasons

Why it makes sense

The Broncos are in desperate need for playmaking interior rushers on the defensive line. Last season, their only consistent interior presence was Dre’Mont Jones, and he can’t continue to do it all by himself. Key totaled 39 pressures last season despite playing 434 total snaps. Dre’Mont led the entire Broncos defense with 40 pressures. Key’s 8 sacks would have led all Broncos.

Despite his small listed weight, Key was best used as an interior rusher, beating guards pretty regularly with his quickness. The 49ers lined him up anywhere from a 3T to wide 9, and that kind of versatility let San Fran get creative with their looks and where they could focus pressure at. The Broncos don’t have a player like that on roster.

Why it doesn’t make sense

Denver’s rush defense was pretty poor along the interior last season, and Key doesn’t help that in any way. He recorded just 13 stops, and while that is partly influenced by his snap count, he recorded a PFF run defense grade of just 56.5. Key’s scheme fit is also a bit debateable. He’s an interior pass rusher that isn’t strong enough against the run to be a base end/5T for the Broncos, so he’d likely have to move over to 3T and rotate with Dre’Mont and continue to be a situational rusher.

Final Thoughts

If the Broncos could get Key for the right price, he’s a worthwhile addition for a team that needs an interior pass rush. The lack of any serious run defense and scheme concerns would mean he wouldn’t be a high priority target to bolster their interior, but there’s a spot for Key should the Broncos elect to pursue him in free agency.


Should the Broncos pursue Arden Key in Free Agency

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