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2018 Prospect Preview: LSU edge defender Arden Key looks to make a leap to No. 1
By Elliott Rooney •
Jul 16, 2017
BATON ROUGE, LA - NOVEMBER 19: Arden Key #49 of the LSU Tigers celebrates a sack during the first half of a game against the Florida Gators at Tiger Stadium on November 19, 2016 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana. (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
LSU edge defender Arden Key enters the 2017 college football season as one of the elite edge-rushers that could enter the 2018 NFL draft. With another strong season the first team All-SEC defender could supplant himself as possibly first edge defender taken in the draft, he already has a Day 1 PFF projection and is ranked among the top three edge defenders across the nation as we enter the season.
Key returns to LSU with an overall PFF grade of 87.9 and a pass rush grade of 88.9, both of which rank No. 2 among returning draft-eligible edge defenders.
Key’s pass rush productivity (PRP) of 15.5 ranks No. 4 among draft-eligible edge defenders (PRP measures pressure created on a per snap basis with weighting towards sack) as his 54 total pressures ranks No. 1 among returning SEC defenders. His 13.3 rushes per outside pressure ranks ninth in this draft class.
Key’s main weaknesses are his run-stopping ability and his bullrush. Key has missed 13 of his 77 career tackle attempts and his run stop percentage last year of 4.3 ranks No. 114 in this draft class. Although his PRP of 15.5 ranks No. 4, only 3.7 percent of those pressures came on bullrushes, below the draft class average of 6.4 percent. If he wants to succeed at the next level, Key will have to develop this area of his game.