AFC Notes: Raiders, Ravens, Texans

Raiders

Raiders HC Jon Gruden explained that they made the decision to draft Arden Key in an attempt to solidify the No. 3 pass rusher role behind Khalil Mack and Bruce Irvin.

When Khalil got tired last year, who’s the third rusher?” Gruden asked, via SFGate.com. “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.

As for Key, he says he’s back to his 2016 form and in better shape overall.

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.

Ravens

  • Peter King hears that Ravens QB Joe Flacco has “gotten the message” from the team following their decision to draft Lamar Jackson at the end of round 1.
  • King thinks the decision to draft Jackson is about more than dissatisfaction with Flacco and is an attempt to make the team exciting again.
  • King thinks there’s a “good chance” the Ravens would have taken Maryland WR D.J. Moore over TE Hayden Hurst at No. 25 overall had the Panthers passed on him.

Texans

Texans DE J.J. Watt said Monday that he feels “great” and “very good” as he works his way back from a tibial plateau fracture he suffered last year.

“I feel great,” Watt said, via Aaron Wilson of the Houston Chronicle. “I feel very good. I’m not going to put any percentages on it. Like I said earlier in the offseason, I could tell you I feel unbelievable. I could tell you I feel super [miserable]. You won’t know until I hit the field. Show up at training camp, watch how I play and you can decide for yourself how I look.”

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