Arden Key’s precipitous drop down the NFL Draft is finally over.
The Oakland Raiders traded up in the third round and took the LSU edge rusher with the No. 87 overall pick. Key was at one point last season considered a consensus top-five pick.
Key set an LSU record with 12 sacks during an All-American sophomore season at LSU, but his stock as tumbled after an unexplained leave of absence from the program last spring and an injury-plagued junior season. He recorded four sacks in eight games in 2017.
His stock dropped more after running 4.87- and 4.85-second times in the 40-yard dash at LSU’s Pro Day. Key said then that he’d addressed his off-the-field issues with NFL teams.
“How do you go from almost being the No. 1 pick to a third-round pick? I don’t understand it still to this day,” Key said. “The talent is still there. Watch the Ole Miss game or the Alabama game. You saw the sophomore Arden Key start to come back. I missed spring. I missed summer. Name me a player who missed that much time and came back his same self. I can’t. My sophomore year I balled out just because I was working.”
He continued: “Whoever does pick me up, if they need a pass rusher, I’m a problem solver. And those who didn’t pick me up and pass me over, shame on them.”
Now he’ll form a pass rush tandem with All-Pro Khalil Mack.