Arden Key was expected to be one of the top NFL Draft prospects entering the 2018 college football season, but off-field issues kept him from training and he underperformed after starting the season overweight and sluggish. The drop off in production has also led to Key sliding down draft boards, but in an effort to save face he is revealing what led to his disappointing junior campaign.
According to a report on the NFL Network, Key has informed teams that his leave of absence during the last offseason was for a voluntary stay in a rehab facility to get his marijuana use under control.
But while that does raise some red flags, a lack of depth off the edge in the 2018 draft class could lead to the former LSU standout going on Day 2.
LSU edge Arden Key has told NFL teams he went to rehab last year for a marijuana problem. Was a beast in 2016, couldn’t train last year … in a thin edge class, don’t be surprised if he still goes Round 2. @nflnetwork pic.twitter.com/HWIKeZzn9f
— Tom Pelissero (@TomPelissero) April 20, 2018
This falls in line with what other draft analysts have previously said.
“He was a shell of what he was,” an AFC scout said. “His actions have proven to be habitual, and I don’t know that he can kick it.”
Generally speaking, marijuana use isn’t much of a red flag for teams. “For him, it is a big deal because it’s affected his playing career at LSU,” an NFC personnel director said. “The kid needs a lot of support and a lot of help. He needs to not smoke.”
Mike Mayock, however, has taken a stronger stance and predicted Key could fall to Day 3.
Mike Mayock thinks LSU DE Arden Key is likely to go in the fourth or fifth round because of off-field concerns.
— Josh Katzenstein (@jkatzenstein) April 20, 2018
We will find out just how long Key has to wait to hear his name called in less than one week when the 2018 NFL Draft takes place April 26-28 at AT&T Stadium in Arlington, Texas.