Photo of ARDEN KEY

Combine Results

5.75 ?
  • 31.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 117.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 7.16 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 4.25 SEC
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Combine Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

  • 6'6" Height
  • 33 1/2" Arm Length
  • 238LBS. Weight
  • 10" Hands


An Atlanta, Georgia product that was a top 25 recruit nationally (15.5 sacks as a senior), Key is the sort of long, wiry end/linebacker hybrid rusher for which LSU has become well known. He started the final nine games of his true freshman year (playing in 12 contests total), making 41 tackles, 6.5 for loss, five sacks, and a team-high nine quarterback hurries. The promise continued to be fulfilled in his sophomore year when he used his agility, speed, and extreme length to earn second-team All-SEC honors as a full-time starter, racking up 12 sacks and 14.5 tackles for loss among his 56 stops along with three forced fumbles. Key took some time away from the program during the spring of 2017 for personal reasons but returned in the summer. He had shoulder surgery in the offseason, however, which caused him to miss the Tigers' first two games. Key also missed time with a finger injury, which meant he only started eight games on the year. He finished with 33 tackles, 5.5 for loss, four sacks, and a forced fumble.



Long-limbed with plus flexibility throughout upper and lower body. Uses long levers to find his way to the other side of a blocker's edge. Good job of timing up snap for a head start. Plays slippery and is hard to keep centered. Disappears from blockers with upper body turns. Unorthodox movement confounds blockers. Earlier in career, would set up tackles with inside jab step that forced them into unbalanced position and allowed him access to the edge. Shows ability as a two-way rusher both inside or outside. Able to lean in and around the edge at top of the rush. Could be scary if he learns to use length consistently. Surprisingly effective change of direction. Has range to rope in running backs who try to scurry around him towards the corner.


Evaluators are worried about his personal discipline. Left team for four months in spring of 2017 for "personal reasons" and had shoulder surgery during that time. Saw weight balloon up to 270 pounds. Segmented mover and lacks fluidity. Liability in run game. Struggles to dominate tight ends at point of attack. Slow to shed. Tightness in hips as an upfield strider. Lacked juice even after losing 20 pounds during the season. Upfield rush plan was predictable and sluggish in 2017. Shows lead hand early allowing tackles to slap it away before landing. Two-hand swipe ineffective at greasing edge. Telegraphs spin move. Plays with wasted motion on the edge. Uninspired when dropping into coverage. Plays upright and is lackadaisical in zone.

Draft Projection

Rounds 1-2

Sources Tell Us

"You come back to the old question of what will a player do with more time and more money as a pro? Key's background tells you it could be a big problem for him. Not only that, but he had seven sacks over the last two years where he didn't have to beat the tackle." -- NFC Director of Scouting

NFL Comparison

Willie Young

Bottom Line

After watching Key closely for three seasons, it is accurate to say the 2017 version was the least exciting to date. Key's length and ability to slither around blockers to threaten the pocket has never been in question, but this season he lacked the necessary suddenness and conditioning to project as an effective pro. There are red flags with Key, but a strong Combine performance could go a long way in getting his draft stock back on track. He has the potential to become a productive edge rusher as a starting 3-4 outside linebacker or as a designated pass rusher in even fronts.
-Lance Zierlein
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-9.00 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl to All-Pro Ability
6.50-6.99 Good NFL Starter with Pro Bowl Potential
6.00-6.49 Chance to become good NFL starter
5.70-5.99 Could become early NFL starter
5.30-5.69 Backup or eventual starter
5.15-5.29 Developmental prospect or special teams potential
5.01-5.14 Back end of the roster
5.00 50/50 Chance of making the roster