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Mayock: Off-field concerns bigger issue for Arden Key than 40

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LSU edge rusher Arden Key recorded 40-yard dash times of 4.89 and 4.91 seconds on Wednesday at the Tigers' annual pro day workout, according to NFL Network draft expert Mike Mayock, but Mayock says Key's speed doesn't rate as the chief scouting concern about the former Tigers star.

"(Key is) as talented a natural edge rusher as there is in this draft. (He's) 6-foot-5, 238 pounds, he tells me he'll play between 245 and 250. He ran 4.9 at 238 pounds. That's not very good, but it's his quickness in short areas that's really telling. In the position drills, he looked phenomenal," Mayock said on Up To The Minute Wednesday. "The whole key for him is off the field. Man, you got to evaluate him. Remember, Randy Gregory was a first-round talent. He went in the second round and pretty much has disappeared from sight because of off-the-field issues. There are similar concerns about Key. His job is going to be convincing NFL teams you can trust him."

Key, one of the most talented defensive players in the 2018 NFL Draft, did not run the 40-yard dash last month at the NFL Scouting Combine, so Wednesday's pro day was the first chance for scouts to evaluate him in the event. Based on Mayock's 4.89 clocking, Key would have tied for fifth-slowest among the 19 edge rushers that ran the 40 at the combine. An official time for Key will be provided to all 32 NFL teams after the pro day.

Off-field concerns about Key stem largely from a leave of absence for personal reasons that he took from the LSU team last spring. His play showed some rust last season following the leave and his recovery from a shoulder surgery, resulting in Key weighing as much as 280 before losing around 25 pounds during the season.

Key has said he was honest and open with NFL clubs about his off-field issues during interviews at the combine.

The former Tigers star had previously said he hoped to run in the 4.6-second range, but also said that the 40-yard dash is not particularly indicative of a pass rusher's ability and was more interested in his 10-yard split time.

Key spent the weeks since the combine training for the pro day, but spent the last week in Atlanta preparing for his pro-day position drills with private pass-rushing coach and former Atlanta Falcons star Chuck Smith. Key met with the Detroit Lions Tuesday in advance of his workout, and is scheduled to fly to Cincinnati Thursday for a formal visit to the Bengals.

Follow Chase Goodbread on Twitter @ChaseGoodbread.

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