Arden Key, defensive end, LSU
Key was a dominant figure the minute he stepped on to the field for the Tigers as a freshman back in 2015. He finished that season having recorded 41 tackles, 6.5 tackles for loss and five sacks in a part-time role. Once Deion Jones and other members of that vaunted LSU defense departed, Key took on a full-time role as a sophomore last season and did not look back.
The massive 6-foot-6 defensive end recorded 55 tackles, 12.5 for loss and 11 sacks en route to earning First-Team All SEC honors. His coming out party came in the season opener against Wisconsin and 2017 first-round pick Ryan Ramczyk, when Key recorded two sacks and put pressure on Badger quarterback Bart Houston throughout the game.
Key will surely draw comparison’s to Myles Garrett, who went No. 1 overall to the Cleveland Browns in this year’s draft. There’s a component to this, especially with each player having a plus-level bull rush. But we have to realize that Key still hasn’t grown into his 6-foot-6 frame and taken it to the football field of yet.
After weighing in at just 238 pounds this past season, Key is reportedly at 255 pounds. If the potentially dominant edge rusher maintains his elite athletic ability at this weight, it will only make him a better all-around prospect. After all, this would seem to indicate that his strength at contact would also increase.
More positive news. Key announced late last month that he will not sit out his junior season.
I am not sitting out my junior year.
— OptimusKey_ (@ArdenKey49) April 26, 2017
There had been some reports that he might not return to the team for personal reasons. That led some to speculation that the likely 2018 top-10 pick might just want to avoid being hit with a serious injury. Thankfully, this is not the case.