The Las Vegas Raiders are slated to select 17th overall when the 2021 NFL Draft gets going in two weeks. The expectation here is that Las Vegas will go defense with that pick after giving up nearly 30 points per game a season ago and hiring Gus Bradley as their new defensive coordinator.

Thursday’s surprising decision to release defensive linemen Arden Key and Maurice Hurst adds a completely new layer to all of this. Both have been contributors over the past three seasons and were selected in Jon Gruden’s first draft with the Raiders.

In particular, the release of Hurst after just three seasons is telling. Considered a potential first-round pick coming out of Michigan back in 2018, the defensive tackle fell to the fifth round due to concerns over his health. He has not yet rounded into the player we saw with the Wolverines, but has flashed potential.