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Raiders’ Bruce Irvin sees ‘a lot’ of himself in Arden Key

Bruce Irvin, Arden Key

Veteran linebacker Bruce Irvin has developed a fondness for Oakland Raiders rookie edge rusher Arden Key, not only because he likes the play of the newcomer, but also because he feels as though he had gone through the same path to the NFL as Key.

During an appearance on The Raiders Insider Podcast, Key shared his thoughts about how he sees similarities regarding outside perception between him and the Raiders’ third-round pick in this year’s NFL Draft, via Scott Bair of NBC Sports.

“I just see a lot of myself in Arden,” Irvin said on The Raiders Insider Podcast. “When he was coming out, he had red flags. People were scared to take a chance on him, but he was a first-round guy. You can’t sit back and tell me that all the edge rushers drafted before him are better. I put Arden up there with the best of them.”

Before he was drafted, Irvin was arrested in Morgantown, West Virginia for destruction of property after he reportedly destroyed a Jimmy John’s sign. Nevertheless, the Seattle Seahawks went ahead and selected the former West Virginia Mountaineer as the 2012 NFL Draft’s 15th pick overall.

Arden Key, meanwhile, also had NFL scouts concerned about his checkered past while growing up in a troubled Atlanta area. While he was viewed as talented enough to go in the first round of the draft, question marks about his character and background ultimately slid him all the way down into the third round.

Key, however, feels grateful that he landed on a team with a veteran who understands where he came from and is willing to mentor him.

“He’s been great with on-field stuff, and off-field stuff, too,” Key said. “There’s a lot of stuff that he did that I did when I was younger. If he tells me something, it’s meaningful because he has been where I’ve been, and right now he’s at the place I’m trying to go.”