Arden Key (Edge, Louisiana State) – 93

If I were to pick a play that crystallises why Arden Key has so much potential in the NFL, it would be his sack against Florida, in 2016, with 6.59 to go in the 2nd quarter.  The ball is snapped, almost everyone else on the O and D lines is moving at normal speed (David Sharpe, the Gators’ LT, and the Raiders’ 4th round pick in 2017, is moving with the speed of an oil tanker that’s run out of gas), whilst Key is already two yards ahead of anyone else by the time Appleby has his arm cocked to throw.  This is the sort of thing that has NFL scouts salivating like ravenous Frenchmen presented with a plate of fois gras.  In backside pursuit, Key pursuing a QB looks like a lion in chase of a gazelle, demonstrating exceptional explosiveness, flexibility and speed.  Against the run, he is a bit more raw but, even so, it’s still worth noting how seldom he gets pushed back, even if his angles and instincts are occasionally awry.  This is impressive, given that he looks like he could carry an extra 20-25lbs on his frame without compromising his speed.  In essence, Key is an elite prospect – a top 5 talent in this year’s draft, should he elect to declare.  There are, however, some off the field issues which will need to be carefully explored.  He was suspended for the A&M game and, earlier this year, he took a leave of absence from the LSU program – these are massive red flags, which will need to be checked out.   These issues compromise my grade on Key slightly but, nevertheless, he should be one of the very best players in the 2018 draft.

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