Why LSU edge rusher Arden Key feels confident in draft stock despite pro day results
Arden Key said he had a good showing at LSU’s pro day.
Key’s time in the 40-yard dash might say differently.
A projected first-round pick a year ago, Key failed to make the splash he was looking for Wednesday after running a 4.85 seconds in the 40. He followed that time with an even slower run of 4.87 on his second attempt.
This after the 238-pound edge rusher declined to run the event during the NFL combine a month ago in Indianapolis.
Key’s time would’ve been the 16th-fastest among edge rushers at the NFL combine with only four players running slower.
He did not run in any other events, but did participate in the linebacker drills in front of NFL scouts at LSU’s indoor practice facility.
Still, Key remains confident in his draft stock three weeks ahead of the draft.
“I felt great,” the 6-foot-6 Georgia native said. “I felt like I was in shape. I showed them speed, flexibility, power, flipping the hips, athleticism.
“I showed them sophomore Arden Key.”
Key dropped about 12 pounds for the combine and maintained that weight for Wednesday’s pro day. He said he lost the weight with the goal of improving his 40 time with plans to beef back up to 250 pounds by the time he reports to an NFL minicamp.
Though his ideal time in the event is the 4.6-to-4.7 range, he said he wasn’t discouraged, believing he’s shown teams he’s capable of playing at the next level.
Key said some of the scouts in attendance clocked him at a 4.7 time, but did not specify who it was.
Key’s broad jump also fell from 117 inches (9-feet, 9 inches) at the combine to 115 inches (9-7) on Wednesday.
In Indianapolis, he ran times of 7.16 seconds in the three-cone drill and 4.25 in the 20-yard shuttle. His vertical jump measured at 31 inches.
“The 40, that’s not football realistic,” Key said. “I’m not running 40 yards down the field in a straight line.”
But Key’s biggest concern likely has nothing to do with his on-field performance.
As he did at the combine, Key opened up about his leave of absence from the team for much of last year.
He declined comment about why he left, but again said he’s been honest with teams and believes he’s satiated concerns.
The Advocate previously reported Key sought treatment last spring for an off-the-field matter that no one has revealed publicly.
“A lot of the scouts viewed me differently before meeting me,” Key said. “When I met them and told them the full, honest truth and took responsibility for those things, they now look at me with a different eye.”
One of the teams with the interest in Key is the Saints.
Key said he met with the Saints at the combine, had dinner with them Tuesday night and will meet again Thursday before flying out to meet with the Cincinnati Bengals.
There are also plans for Key to have a private workout with the Saints in Baton Rouge and then another trip to New Orleans on April 18.
“Crazy interest,” Key said about the Saints before a reporter asked if that was good. He responded, “Yeah, that’s good. Who Dat.”
More from Arden Key at #LSU Pro Day: Key says teams most want to know about his weight and his leave of absence last year.Said he’s surprised a lot of teams who may have viewed him differently going into meetings by taking full responsibility and telling the full truth. pic.twitter.com/uZnNZUg7nd — Mike Gegenheimer (@Mike_Gegs) April 4, 2018
Other notable 40-yard dash times
-- LSU running back Darrel Williams, 4.65
-- LSU wide receiver Donte Jackson, 4.31
-- LSU wide receiver Russell Gage, 4.42