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Name: *Arden Key (+) Coming off Spring 2017 Shoulder INJ
College: LSU     Number: 49
Height: 6-5   Weight: 265
Position: DE  Pos2: OLB  Class/Draft Year: Jr/2018
40 Low: 4.68
  40 Time: 4.78
   40 High: 4.89

Projected Round: 1-2      Stock: 
Rated number 4 out of 163 DE's     37 / 2381 TOTAL
Combine Invite: Yes
Height: 6052
Weight: 265

PD3X AKA "Official"
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225 Lb. Bench Reps: 
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Dates: 04/04/18
Hand:   Arm: 
Wingspan: 

Height: 6052
Weight: 265

40 Yard Dash (HH): 
20 Yard (HH): 
10 Yard (HH): 
225 Lb. Bench Reps: 
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 Data Scout Notes: 2018: 01-04-18 - Announced Early Entry into 2018 NFL Draft…2017: NAC...PMaxwell/PBednarik…Took Personal Leave from Team/(+) Coming off Spring 2017 Shoulder INJ...2016: 2ndC...2015: NAC
 *Arden Key/LSU football Videos
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 Header

  Arden Key
LSU Tigers
Outside Linebacker
6-5, 238, 4.74, #49
Atlanta, Georgia
Hapeville Charter Academy


 Update

  12-17-17 -- Big Game for Key: NFL team scouts told NFLDraftScout.com that the Jan. 1 Citrus Bowl will be a big one for Arden Key, who will be matched in that game against highly rated Notre Dame Tackle Mike McGlinchey.

NFL teams that once relished Key's sacking ability are now curious about his disappointig 2017. Among other things, he took a leave of absence in February for personal reasons, underwent shoulder surgery, then showed up out of shape. He did show moments of good play, but missed last two games after undergoing surgery on his pinky finger..


 Overview

  LSU's dynamic edge rusher Arden Key is one of the more aptly named prospects in the 2018 NFL draft because perhaps only he possesses the ability to unlock his undeniable potential.

When healthy and focused, his ability to wreak havoc off the edge as a speed rusher is unparalleled in this class. As he demonstrated in setting LSU's all-time single-season sack record as a true sophomore in 2016, Key is a legitimate force as a pass rusher. He is consistently able to cross the face of tackles - whether lining up out of the two point (stand-up) or three-point (hand in the dirt) stance - or rushing off the left or right side. Further, when called upon to play a more traditional outside linebacker role, Key proved that he is far from "just" an edge rusher, showing the balance, agility and speed to handle coverage responsibilities and proving significantly stronger at the point of attack than his relatively lanky frame would imply.

The talent is clear; so too, however, are Key's red flags, which include surgeries, suspension and suspect conditioning, among other things.

Possessing a similar blend of length and explosiveness as the man he replaced as LSU's star edge rusher - current Minnesota Vikings' Pro Bowler Danielle Hunter - Key has been a standout since Day One, recording the first sack of LSU's 2015 season as a true freshman with a takedown of Dak Prescott in the 2015 opener. Playing in all 12 games and starting the final nine, Key went on to earn Freshman All-American honors by multiple media groups with 41 tackles, including 6.5 for loss and five sacks. He led the Tigers with nine quarterback hurries.

Key enjoyed the best season of his college career in 2016, logging sacks in nine of the 11 games in which he played. Despite missing a game due to suspension and playing in the Citrus Bowl with a shoulder injury that would eventually require surgery, Key broke the school's single-sack record with 12, including two against Louisville's equally athletic Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson in the bowl game, one of which was for a safety. It was the first safety recorded by an LSU defender in a bowl game since 1974. Key earned First Team All-SEC honors by league media and Second Team accolades by coaches, recording 56 tackles, including a team-leading 14.5 for loss and three forced fumbles.

With Myles Garrett (Texas A&M) and Derek Barnett (Tennessee) leaving for the NFL via the first round, it seemed like a foregone conclusion that Key would take over as the SEC's ruling edge rusher in 2017.

Instead of his junior campaign becoming a coronation, however, Key largely lived off his reputation, raising concerns for some about how serious he will take the commitment required in the NFL once the checks start to clear.

Key's turbulent 2017 began with taking a much-publicized leave from LSU's football program in February. Key's reason for leaving the team was characterized as "personal" in a public statement made by February 15 by LSU head coach Ed Orgeron, who requested that the media give Key and his family privacy.

Whether it was the sole reason for the leave or not, Key underwent shoulder surgery during his four months away from the team, missing spring practice and drawing some criticism because the injury which was thought to have occurred in November.

Key returned to the team 25 pounds heavier in June only to largely watch from the sideline as he continued to recover, a process which lasted into the season with his missing LSU's first two games of 2017. He looked sluggish and, frankly, was ineffective early on, notably missing tackles in several games, including LSU's stunning home loss to Troy as he worked his way back into shape.

On a positive note, Key was back to his disruptive self in key conference games throughout the middle of the season, recording six tackles, including 1.5 for loss and a sack against Auburn (October 14), six tackles, including two sacks against Mississippi (October 21), and a season-high eight tackles, including 1.5 for loss against rival Alabama (November 4).

Just as things appeared to be turning into place, Key missed the final two regular season games to undergo surgery on his pinkie finger. He finished the 2017 regular season with career-lows in tackles (33) tackles for loss (5.5) and sacks (four).

Though he comes with clear bust potential, Key's specialty - his ability to harass quarterbacks - is so valued in today's NFL that a first round selection is all but a given despite his disappointing final season in Baton Rouge. It is entirely possible, in fact, that Key earns a top 10 pick and emerges as a legitimate difference-maker early in his NFL career.

BACKGROUND
Key signed with LSU as one of the more highly touted edge rushers in the country, recording 15.5 sacks his senior year and earning consensus four star grades from recruiters... Key missed five games over his final two years at LSU due to suspension and/or injury with his surgically-repaired shoulder and pinkie each requiring a medical check at the Combine. Key's suspension for the Texas A&M game (2016) was for an undisclosed violation of team rules.


 Analysis

  STRENGTHS

Key possesses an ideal frame for a modern day edge rusher with broad shoulders, vines for limbs and well distributed musculature, including a powerful lower half. His greatest asset is an explosive burst off the ball, one aided by very good snap anticipation, which allows him to often cross the face of offensive tackles and get them stumbling backward in an attempt to slow him. Key shows very good flexibility and balance to dip his shoulder under the reach of tackles and quickly flatten out to scrape the edge closely to pursue the quarterback and leaving opposing blockers very little time to recover. Key possesses very good closing speed to stalk unsuspecting ball-carriers from behind, showing not only the acceleration to catch up but spatial awareness, agility and balance to avoid cut blocks from backs or others looking to chip him. Though his frame does not suggest great strength, Key is very effective in converting his speed to power, effectively bull-rushing much larger men because he gets them off-balance, provides a strong initial pop and bends his knees, often winning the leverage battle. He fights to keep outside containment against the run and is stronger than he looks, showing good hand strength and aggression to shed blockers at the point of attack. Key is a generally reliable wrap-up tackler who closes with force, generating some impressive hits and showing the ability to knock the ball out (four forced fumbles over his career). Because he is so effective rushing the quarterback, Key was only occasionally asked to drop into coverage at LSU but on those few occasions, he looked surprisingly nimble dropping back (see Auburn, 2017), showing light feet and loose hips to easily change direction and accelerate, presenting all sorts of possibilities for a creative defensive coordinator. - Rob Rang 12/12/2017

WEAKNESSES
Due to underrated strength and excellent knee bend, Key is more powerful than his frame suggests but he is too often blown off the ball when opponents are able to latch on, especially on double-teams, which too often resulted in his literally being knocked to the turf. Key is a threat as a pass rusher but shows limited awareness of passing lanes when unable to get home, tipping just four passes over his career (including none in 2017) and never intercepting a pass... Too often is the nail rather than the hammer as a hitter, getting dragged by smaller ball-carriers yards downfield on occasion. Can be too aggressive on read-option plays, leaving the defense vulnerable when he guesses wrong. Arrived at summer practices in June 25 pounds heavier than expected and struggled early in 2017, raising questions about how seriously he took conditioning and his preparation for his final college season. Surgeries on shoulder, pinkie require medical evaluation at the Combine. - Rob Rang 12/12/2017

COMPARES TO: Hall of Famer Derrick Thomas, Chiefs. An explosive first step and cat-like quickness to avoid blockers off the edge are the elite traits which helped the late Thomas rack up an NFL-best 116.5 sacks during the 1990s, as well as NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year honors in 1989. A similar skill-set and immediate impact potential could earn Key top five consideration, just like Thomas (No. 4 overall).



IN OUR VIEW: With an explosive initial get-off, long arms to keep offensive tackles' hands off of him and the core flexibility to dip and flatten in one fluid motion, Key boasts the most intriguing skill-set of any edge defender in the 2018 NFL draft.

Before investing the top 10 pick that his talent warrants, however, scouts will have to wade through a variety of off-field issues, not the least of which would be durability concerns and the details behind Key taking a four month personal leave of absence from LSU prior to the 2017 season.
--Rob Rang


 2017 Season

  Key had a curious and disappointing 2017 year. It began when he took a leave of absence in February for "personal reasons." While on leave he had surgery on his shoulder, possibly to address an injury from November 2016. When he returned in June, Key was 25 pounds overweight and took a while to play back up to expectations. He made six tackles, including 1.5 for loss and a sack against Auburn (October 14), six tackles, including two sacks against Mississippi (October 21), and a season-high eight tackles, including 1.5 for loss against rival Alabama (November 4).

However, he was sidelined again after surgery on a pinky finger and missed the last two games of the regular season. He finished the 2017 regular season with career-lows in tackles (33) tackles for loss (5.5) and sacks (four).


 2016 Season

  School record holder with 12 single-season sacks... Led the squad with 14.5 tackles for loss ... Finished sixth on the team with 56 total tackles ... Also tied for fifth on the team in solo tackles with 24 ... Recorded two sacks for 16 yards in the Citrus Bowl to take the record ... Also logged six tackles against the Cardinals ...

Scoredd LSU's first safety since 2012 in the Citrus Bowl after sacking Heisman Trophy winner Lamar Jackson, the first in a bowl for the Tigers since the 1974 Orange Bowl against Penn State.

Named first team All-SEC by the media and second team All-SEC by the coaches ... Logged a sack in nine of the 11 contests that he played ... Matched his career high in both tackles and tackles for loss against Florida where he compiled eight tackles and two tackles for loss ... Logged one sack at Arkansas ... Recovered his first fumble of the season, which was forced by Frank Herron, for his second career recovery and also compiled five tackles against Alabama ... Moved into the top-10 in single season sacks after dropping Ole Miss' Chad Kelly for a loss of four yards ... Registered five tackles, two quarterback hits and his first pass breakup of the season against Southern Miss.

Earned a sack against Missouri and also recorded three tackles ... Had a monster of a game at Auburn where he finished the evening with six tackles, three quarterback hurries, 1.5 sacks and forced his second fumble of the season, which was picked up by Davon Godchaux ... Picked up a huge sack and forced a fumble that was recovered by Godchaux on 4th and 8 with 1:41 left in the fourth quarter against Mississippi State as the Tigers were clinging to the 23-20 lead ... Totaled his third-consecutive game with a sack and tied his career high with two sacks against Mississippi State .... Recorded a sack against Jacksonville State ... Tallied six tackles and registered a career-high two sacks against Wisconsin.


 2015 Season

  Played in all 12 games and started the final nine contests at defensive end … Named a Freshman All-America by ESPN.com and 247Sports.com as well as an SEC All-Freshman Team member following an outstanding rookie campaign … Collected 41 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss, 5.0 sacks, a team-high nine quarterback hurries, one pass breakup and one fumble recovery … Had a monster game against Texas A&M where he posted a career-high eight tackles, 1.5 sacks and three QB hurries ... Earned a sack vs. Arkansas ... Recorded a sack, recovered a fumble and finished with a career-high six tackles at Alabama ... Tallied half a sack vs. Florida ... Hurried the QB on the pass that led to Deion Jones' 26-yard pick six in Key's first start versus Eastern Michigan ... Tipped a pass that Deion Jones picked off at Syracuse ... Played extensively in the opener at Mississippi State and recorded LSU's first sack of the season along with two QB hurries and one PBU.

 High School

  Rangy, explosive athlete at the defensive end position ... Unanimously rated as a four-star prospect by Rivals, 247 Sports, Scout and ESPN ... Ranked as high as the No. 3 weak side defensive end nationally by 247 sports and the No. 24 overall prospect nationally by ESPN ... Touted as the No. 4 overall prospect coming out of Georgia ... Racked up 15.5 sacks as a senior ... Accounted for more than 100 tackles and eight sacks as a junior ... Registered a dozen sacks as a sophomore ... Member of the Rivals 250, Scout 300, 247 Sports Top 247 and ESPN 300 ... Garnered an invitation to play in the Under Armour All-American Game ... Class 2A First Team All-State selection ... Coached by Winston Gordon.

 Personal

  Parents are Nicole Spencer and Arden Key Sr. ... Born May 3, 1996.

 
 Draft Scout Player News
01/20/18 - NFL Early Entries: College Winners and Losers: Loser -- LSU: Six underclassmen declared for the draft, which is no way to catch Alabama in the SEC West. Edge rusher Arden Key and running back Derrius Guice have first-round quality and were expected to leave, but coach Ed Orgeron also has to deal with losing both starting cornerbacks and two offensive linemen. - Anthony Gimino, The Sports Xchange
01/04/18 - LSU junior Arden Key declared Thursday for the NFL Draft, where he figures to be one of the most intriguing prospects as an edge rusher. NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang projected Key as going 14th overall to the Green Bay Packers in a first-round mock draft earlier this week. NFL teams that once relished Key's sacking ability are now curious about his disappointing 2017. Among other things, he took a leave of absence in February for personal reasons, underwent shoulder surgery, then showed up out of shape. After beginning to show glimpses of his sophomore season, when he set an LSU single-season record with 12 sacks, Key missed the final two games of 2017 after undergoing surgery on his pinky finger. NFLDraftScout.com wrote: "When healthy and focused, his ability to wreak havoc off the edge as a speed rusher is unparalleled in this class. ... He is consistently able to cross the face of tackles -- whether lining up out of the two point (stand-up) or three-point (hand in the dirt) stance -- or rushing off the left or right side." Key made 33 tackles, including 5.5 for loss and four sacks, in eight games this season. High points were making 1.5 tackles for loss in games against Alabama and Auburn - The Sports Xchange
11/07/17 - LSU DE Arden Key, a junior who's struggled with injuries this season, "made money" against Alabama as he kept "applying pressure in different ways" and appeared to be "in better shape and faster" than earlier this season, according to former NFL scout Ryan Hollern writing at @ITLScoutsNotes. - InsidetheLeague.com
10/16/17 - OLB Arden Key finally showed a glimpse of the player who set a school record with 12 sacks last season. He missed the first two games because of offseason shoulder surgery and had minimal impact in his first four games, getting just half a sack. But against Auburn he finished with six tackles, including his first full sack of the season with two seconds left on Auburn's final offensive play.
09/25/17 - OLB Arden Key -- Key's effectiveness has been limited in his two games since returning from offseason shoulder surgery. His conditioning isn't up to par yet.

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