IDP Draft Watch: Arden Key DE/LB, LSU

What if I told you that there was a pass rusher in this class that could rival Myles Garrett. Intrigued? His name is Arden Key. Before you go ringing the “hot take” alarms, know that I’m not trying to say they are on the same talent level, but that Key has that type of potential. Sure, the two are different in style, Key likes to dance around and use his pure athleticism, while Garrett prefers to bully blockers around with his otherworldly strength. What they do share, however, is an absurd, straight up ridiculous amount of potential that is rarely seen.

They both have a chance at becoming a franchise edge rusher capable of single-handedly destroying a game. I’ll have to watch Key in 2017 to fully determine if he’ll be as good as Garrett or even be in that conversation, but he has a real chance. Whether you agree or disagree let’s dive into Key’s overall game and discuss the perhaps transformational talent he has!

Strengths:

Athleticism: Arden Key is the most athletic edge rusher I have ever seen. I might go as far as to say that he is the most athletic player I have ever seen. It’s as simple as that. His quickness, straight line speed, and agility, they are all eye-popping and ridiculous. I’m having a hard time putting into words how athletic he is, so why not just show you?

 

While I had a hard time explaining his athleticism, what I will do is explain the importance. His quickness will make offensive tackles and coordinators tremble, not to mention the poor quarterbacks who will be swallowed up by him week after week. Key should be one of those transformational players that affect each game they play in. If Arden Key is on the field, the offense will have to change how they gameplan.

Pass Rush: With 11 sacks in his true sophomore year the numbers speak for themselves with Key. A whirlwind around the edge, he constantly causes havoc in the pocket. I highly encourage watching tape on him. Countless times a game he breezes around the edge and affects the quarterback whether that be by forcing the QB to escape from the pocket or by forcing a fumble. Not just an athlete, Key is solid with his hand fighting. Even if you are lucky enough to get in front of him, the battle is just beginning.

Strength: If you watch Key he rarely makes overwhelming pure power plays, so you may wonder why this is listed as a strength. Relative to his thin 6’6 238 lb frame, and with his often poor leverage in which he stands up too straight, his ability to hang in with 300 plus pound lineman is impressive. He has a natural upper body strength that will be unleashed in full if he can put on about 15 pounds and starts to play with a little lower center of gravity.

Weaknesses:

Dealing with Blockers: A weakness, relative to the strengths Key has, he is pretty mediocre in this aspect of his game. On running plays Key smartly plays his gap and plays it well, but he rarely will make an “above and beyond” play like elite run stoppers will do. Can Key have an excellent, All-Pro filled career being the run defender he is? Yes. But if there’s one way he can take it to the next level it’s here.  

Summary:

I have no doubt in my mind that Arden Key will be a top ten pick barring a career affecting injury. With his athleticism, and therefore potential, teams are gonna fall in love with the prospects of him being a consistent 10 or 12 sack edge rusher. The nice thing about athletes like Key is you can almost always find a spot for them. As with any edge rusher, the question has to be asked; Is he a better fit in a 4-3 or 3-4 system?

I prefer Key out of a two-point stance; he shines by having some separation between him and his blocker especially on passing plays. This season I look for Key to become better in using leverage to control blockers and to focus on improving his overall run defense. Right now, I have Key as an A-rated prospect and top 5 pick; I can’t wait to watch him dominate for the Tigers this season!

Auburn: http://draftbreakdown.com/2017/05/02/arden-key-vs-auburn-2016/

Ole Miss: http://draftbreakdown.com/2017/05/15/arden-key-vs-ole-miss-2016/

Florida: http://draftbreakdown.com/2017/05/15/arden-key-vs-ole-miss-2016/

 

bylitalo

Bradley Ylitalo, Minneapolis MN. Bethel Football Student Coach. Scouting/Devy writer for the Dynasty Football Factory. Follow me on twitter @NFL_drafthub or find me on facebook: Bradley Ylitalo

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