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Marino | DE Arden Key under the microscope

NOV 19 Florida at LSU
Photo by Stephen Lew/Icon Sportswire

Scouting Notes

Marino | DE Arden Key under the microscope

Arden Key has made a name for himself as one of the top pass rushers in the SEC. The leagues’ coaches named him to the SEC All-Freshman team in 2015 and he was a second team All-SEC selection last year. Racking up 16 sacks over his first two seasons in Baton Rouge, Key is primed for a standout junior season.

Listed at 6’6”, Arden Key has ideal height and appears to have terrific length. With that said, he checks in at just 238 pounds so adding bulk will be a priority as he prepares for the 2017 season.

While its far too early in the process to make firm statements regarding a prospect, let’s take a look at 8 of  the 12 sacks Key was credited with in 2016 to understand how and why he is getting to the quarterback.

While Arden Key’s first sack of the season was definitely a coverage sack, there are some takeaways worth noting. When Key realized he was beyond the quarterback he gets under the pads of the blocker and executes an excellent rip move. He shows good functional strength to execute and work back underneath the block instead of getting pushed further beyond the quarterback. His ankle flexion throughout the rep is outstanding.

Key wins with a well-timed rip move that enables him to get under the blockers hands. He illustrates the play strength needed to press the angle and the flexibility to turn the corner to finish the play.

All of this is set up by the burst out of his stance and depth of his steps that put considerable stress on the blockers feet to challenge landmarks on the edge track.

Arden Key shows off his explosive first step get off and completely won this rep by step 3. He forces the offensive lineman to open his hips and the subtle rip move when they are hip to hip enables him to corner the edge track and close. His finishing burst is impressive here.

Again, the first step explosion on this rep is impressive. Key does well to reduce his surface area and tilt to win around the edge.

The leverage he executes this rush with makes it difficult for the offensive tackle to get his hands on him and from there is about being flexible and balanced to win around the edge. His length allows him to finish.

The running back doesn’t stand a chance here. Key carries too much speed to power conversion combined with flexibility to carry the speed through a tight angle and easily finishes.

The tight end needed to get his hands on Key to widen his rush angle but Key has too much quickness out his stance. Great angle and shoulder dip from Key.

Key shows off his twitch here by faking an inside move forces hesitation from the offensive tackle and the corner is his. Again, the play strength to press the angle and flexibility to turn the corner are impressive. Excellent job striping the football to create the turnover.

Key gets a quick check on the receiver to disrupt the route timing and then its easy money. The tight end over-sets to the outside and Key recognizes his over-commitment to take away the edge and attacks the interior gap. He works through the contact and arrives under control. This rep accentuates his tackle radius.

Key wins with a club/rip combination here that is executed with perfect timing. His length is utilized effectively to keep separation from the blocker and again the flexibility to corner the edge and closing burst to finish the rep are outstanding.

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Joe Marino

Marino began his career as the Assistant Editor for USA Today Digital Properties Draft Sites Network in 2011. A member of the FWAA, Marino writes about the NFL, College Football and NFL Draft for FanRag Sports.

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