According to Matt Kawahara of the San Francisco Chronicle, those two accounted for 18.5 of the team’s 31 sacks, but plays 89.5 percent and 84.7 percent of the defensive snaps, respectively.
“When Khalil got tired last year, who’s the third rusher?” Gruden asked. “When Bruce got tired, who’s the third rusher?
“You’ve got to have at least three guys that can get after the quarterback because you win games with your fourth-quarter pass rush. You work 57 minutes to get a lead, and your fourth-quarter pass rush has to close the door down. So, we think Key can be one of those guys at the end of games.”
Key’s fall to the third round has been well documented, after a stint in rehab in college, and the weight gain last year that kept him from looking like the same player. But he said he’s back to 246 pounds, and is ready to prove himself.
“Oh, I’m back,” Key said. “I’m back. I’m back to my 2016 season. I got down, lost the weight. Been getting in shape and things of that sort. And now it’s time to put the pads on and show it. . . .
“No, just stay on the straight path. Talent was not the reason why none of this happened. Off-the-field issues. We set a plan. I trust them and they trust me. So we’re just going to keep on moving with the plan.”
And if that plan holds up, he’ll be working with — and spelling — two of the league’s top pass-rushers on a regular basis.