Arden Key, EDGE
School: LSU | Conference: SEC
College Experience: Junior | Age: 21
Height / Weight: 6-5 / 238 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 2nd Round or 3rd Round
NFL Comparison: Kyler Fackrell
Arden Key was a 4-star prospect out of Atlanta, Georgia who committed to LSU early on in the recruitment year and just two weeks after his initial visit to the campus. Key gained national recognition for his play during the 2016 season when he was one of the most effective and productive edge rushers in the country posting impressive sack and TFL numbers. According to an NFL, executive Key was the biggest disappointment of this past season. Key played at a much heavier weight than he did the past year and you can see how that had an effect on him on tape. His numbers tumbled and he was limited this year due to a shoulder surgery and finger injuries. Despite having a year of eligibility left Key has decided to make the jump to the NFL and where he was once considered as a sure 1st round pick Key is now projected to go anywhere between the 2nd and 3rd round.
Key has impressive length and athleticism and it is how he won so many matchups his sophomore year. His lost some of his speed and athleticism playing as a heavier weight this year. Key must learn how to get off blocks from tackles when they mirror him well. And on certain reps, it seemed like he was taking it easy. I don't know his snap count or if that points to a bigger effort issue. If Key can regain his 2016 form he will be one of the best value picks at edge rusher in the draft.
- Great length and bend and flexibility for the position.
- Can win with initial quickness and burst and tall long frame makes hand placement hard for some tackles to get a block on him. Has a rip move that can really get OL off balance. Can close quickly.
- When asked to set the edge instead of blitz can do so.
- Red flags related to his weight and discipline. He took some time away from the team and got shoulder surgery during that period.
- Lacks play strength for an edge he is projected as a 3-4 OLB and if doesn't get stronger will always have to win with his speed.
- What is his playing weight? It probably shouldn't be above 250.
- Gets tight when having 2 gap responsibility. If a blocker gets hands in his chest its over.
- Doesn't have the pursuit I like to see out of a defensive player - a rusher in particular.
Let’s see his work:
LSU DE Arden Key said he got up to 280 pounds at one point, started last season at 270-275. How’d it happen? “Eatin’”. Says his ideal playing weight is 240-250.— Albert Breer (@AlbertBreer) March 3, 2018
LSU's Arden Key says NFL teams are "blown away" by his explanation for a 2017 absence. Everybody else is still in the dark: https://t.co/NHASsnD2Dc— Alex Martin Smith (@asmiff) March 3, 2018
Watching some Arden Key tape, Wish there was more plays like this. pic.twitter.com/MbLa5UjF0T— RealBucsTalk (@RealBucsTalk) February 11, 2018
How He Would Fit On The Redskins
2017 Arden Key and 2016 Arden Key are nearly two different players. NFL teams are going to have to decide which player are they going to get when they draft him. Despite Key’s past success and projection as a 3-4 OLB, I don't think he will be a fit on the Redskins with what he'll be asked to do. 3-4 linebackers need a blend of athleticism, length, and strength and Key doesn't have the latter. It will take him a long time to develop that play strength in addition to him fixing some of his technique issues. I don't know anything about his circumstances but player discipline and more recently related to the Redskins actual documented leaves of absence of a player worry me about his availability and just how serious he takes things. Since that is on the record I would like my favorite team to steer clear especially with the price he will command. The book is not closed on Key though. There is always a possibility he gets back on track and tears things up in the NFL. He took the first step toward that in the combine where he showed up at a slender 238. If he gets stronger, learns for to disengage he can be dangerous off the edge with his length. The Redskins do need a speed rusher if Gallete walks but I think there are safer prospects in the draft that can fill that need.