Only two months after an SEC pass rusher was drafted with the No. 1 pick overall by the Cleveland Browns, former NFL defensive end Chuck Smith is touting LSU’s Arden Key as an even better pass-rushing prospect.
“If he’s not the No. 1 pick next year? Teams are going to miss out.”
A second-round pick of the Atlanta Falcons in 1992, Smith helped lead a defense that earned a trip to Super Bowl XXXIII.
Now 47, Smith has been called the ‘sack whisperer‘ because of the work he’s been able to do with current and aspiring pass rushers. When he speaks about Key’s potential, you have to listen.
“He’s got bend like Von Miller and a spin like Dwight Freeney. He knows how to do all the pass rush moves, why to use the moves, how to use the moves and he has edge speed. He can head fake you like Osi Umenyiora. That’s what makes him special. I guess the last thing that makes him special is he has that dog in him. That real dog, and he is hungry to be the best,” Smith said of Key.
While it’s true Key has several high-level pass-rushing traits, most notably that explosive athleticism, it’s also fair to say he struggles with power at the point of attack. While speed tends to win most battles in the NFL, he’ll have to hold up against some of the biggest and strongest offensive tackles on the planet.
If it wasn’t for the overloaded class of quarterbacks in the 2018 NFL Draft, Key would be in the discussion as an option for the first pick overall. He could still be in that mix come season’s end if the top quarterbacks falter.