The Las Vegas Raiders strung together an underwhelming 8-8 regular season in 2020, finishing right in the middle of the pack in the AFC. However, a porous defense hurt Jon Gruden’s team throughout the year, ultimately leaving the organization out of the postseason for the fourth straight season.
As a result of some of the struggles last fall, the Raiders have opted to make some cuts on defense. According to NFL Network insider Ian Rapoport, Las Vegas waived defensive end Arden Key and defensive tackle Maurice Hurst on Thursday.
“The Raiders are waiving DE Arden Key and DT Maurice Hurst, source said,” Rapoport tweeted.
Both Key and Hurst were drafted in 2018 and each lasted just three years with the AFC West organization. Their releases on Thursday add more evidence to the claim that the Raiders have struggled with their draft picks during Gruden’s tenure.
The #Raiders are waiving DE Arden Key and DT Maurice Hurst, source said.
— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 15, 2021
Las Vegas selected Key out of LSU in the third round of the 2018 NFL Draft. However, a broken foot set the young defensive end back during his second season and was never able to make a major impact. He played in 37 games for the Raiders, tallying three sacks and 49 total tackles.
Hurst came off the board just two rounds later, when the Raiders took him with the 140th overall pick in 2018. The former Michigan defensive tackle started 10 games during his rookie season, racking up four sacks and 31 tackles, but saw his playing time take a dip over the next two years. Like Key, he’ll now be forced to find another opportunity.
The Raiders will be yet another interesting team to watch later this month at the 2021 NFL Draft. With multiple position groups in need of an upgrade, Gruden will have to choose wisely on April 29.