Position: Edge defender
Weight: 265 pounds
School: LSU Tigers
Arden Key 2018 NFL Draft Profile
Over the past decade or so, the NFL has become more and more of a passing league. Exotic passing schemes from offensive gurus such as Kyle Shanahan and Sean McVay have replaced the “three yards and a cloud of dust” offense from years past. To counteract this, pass rushers are more in vogue than ever. One needs to look no further than Von Miller or Khalil Mack to see how an elite pass rusher can take over a game. The next great pass rusher might be Arden Key.
The first snap of Key’s collegiate career was a great indicator of what was to come. In the 2015 season opener against Mississippi State, the true-freshman sacked Dak Prescott. Key had a successful freshman season but really broke out as a sophomore. Key finished with 11 sacks, including two in the Citrus Bowl against Louisville when the lights were brightest. This garnered a lot of top pick buzz.
A lot of the hype Key built up during his sophomore year was dispelled when he left LSU for “personal reasons.” Not a lot is known about why he chose to leave, but it is definitely a point that NFL general managers will want to do their homework on. Key also had a shoulder surgery during that off-season. His final season at LSU was productive, but not nearly as much so as his phenomenal sophomore season. Key is one of the more polarizing players in the 2018 draft.
- freakish athlete with both size and speed;
- never gives up on a play;
- explosive enough to beat tackles around the edge;
- possess the s speed to chase down running backs from behind;
- versatile enough to get away with snaps as a three technique, and drop into coverage;
- possesses incredibly long arms;
- shows a knack for making plays when his team needs him most.
- unable to make consistent impact in the run game;
- struggles to get off blocks;
- lacks pass rush moves outside of speed around the edge;
- injury concerns with both his shoulder and his hand;
- fooled too often on option type plays;
- needs to add strength to his long frame.
NFL Comparison: Leonard Floyd
Teams With Need at Position: Buffalo Bills, Detroit Lions, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, New Orleans Saints, New York Jets, Oakland Raiders, San Francisco 49ers, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, The Washington Professional Team
Projection: Late-first round
Key is an interesting player when it comes to where he ends up going in the draft. It wouldn’t be surprising if he was a top ten pick, but it also wouldn’t be a shock if he fell out of the first round completely. While Key is an incredible athlete, he has a lot of work to do before he is ready to impact an NFL game. Key is raw, but with the right coaching and scheme, he will be an absolute monster. His effort on the field is exceptional as well and is a true whistle to whistle type of player. Concerns about why he left school will ultimately push him down the draft board, but some team will take a chance on his huge upside.