Bears Draft Scout: Arden Key

STARKVILLE, MS - SEPTEMBER 12: Tashawn Bower /
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Arden Key is an enigmatic prospect heading into the draft process. Is he a player that should be on the Chicago Bears radar?

As a sophomore, Arden Key tore up the nation. Key posted 11 sacks, 12.5 for loss as an All-SEC performer. However, between his sophomore and junior season Key took some time away from the football team and wound up getting offseason shoulder surgery. It caused him to miss the teams first two games. He missed time later in the season and wound up playing in just eight games. He added a lot of weight, and while he worked it off during the season, he did not look like the same player. With his off of the field concerns, he is going to have to answer questions during the combine. Will he be able to manage his draft stock, and if he falls into the second round, could he be on the Chicago Bears radar?


Age:  21

School: LSU Tigers


Arden Key has all of the things you cannot teach. He has the size and length that looks like he should be premier pass rusher in the NFL. He is also light on his feet, is a shifty mover, and has a pretty decent arsenal of pass rushing moves, given his age.

Key is able to get his hands on offensive lineman first, and is able to use swipes, swims, and other various combinations of moves to fight his way to the quarterback.

Take the play below for example. A spin move to the outside helps set him up with a path to the inside. Key uses his feet, hands and body fluidity to rip inside and finish off the game with a sack.

Key is a smooth mover, and it translates when he has to move in space. Key is solid dropping into coverage, and can make plays against the  run when free and in space. His size and ability when it is put altogether is something that 3-4 base teams would salivate over.


When Key stepped away from the team, and had his offseason shoulder surgery he came back about 20 pounds overweight. This was not a muscle gain. The surgery sidelined him, and apparently he was not doing much in the meantime.

Key worked off some of the weight as the season went on, but it affected his burst is a huge way. Key was a lot slower off of the ball, and motivation, along with the weight gain became overbearing questions for Arden Key.

Key has never been strong in standing in line to take on defenders in the running game. He has issues shedding blocks. Even with the increase in weight, he was still too easy to move for offensive lineman in this regard.

Also, while Key has a variety of pass rushing moves, he does not quite know how to put them together yet. His spin move needs work, and some of his other moves could be refined. He also needs to focus on rushing with a plan. Key tends to try to string things together with no purpose, other than looking to occasionally stumble upon something. If he can begin to piece his moves together and rush with a purpose, he can be extremely dangerous. However, at the moment, it is a very raw athlete with a group of misplaced pieces.