Arden Key Rumored to Be 2018 NFL Draft Target for Falcons

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured ColumnistApril 27, 2018

BATON ROUGE, LA - SEPTEMBER 23:  Arden Key #49 of the LSU Tigers rushes during a game against the Syracuse Orange at Tiger Stadium on September 23, 2017 in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  (Photo by Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images)
Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images

The Atlanta Falcons are reportedly eyeing former LSU edge-rusher Arden Key as Day 2 of the 2018 NFL draft approaches. 

According to ESPN.com's Vaughn McClure, Key is "a player to keep an eye on with the Falcons" on Friday. 

Key was considered a first-round talent following a stellar sophomore season at LSU that saw him log 11.0 sacks and 12.5 tackles for loss. 

However, his stock started to slide in 2017 for a variety of reasons. First and foremost, Key stepped away from LSU in the spring to spend a "voluntary stint in rehab" to address his marijuana use. Then, once he rejoined the club, Key was slow to regain his 2016 form after undergoing offseason shoulder surgery. 

"He was a shell of what he was," an AFC scout told NFL.com's Tom Pelissero. "His actions have proven to be habitual, and I don't know that he can kick it."

In other words, picking Key at this point is a high-risk, high-reward play. 

But with the Falcons in need of pass-rushing reinforcements after losing Adrian Clayborn to the New England Patriots in free agency, it makes sense that they could circle Key as a potential addition if he continues to fall on Day 2. 

Bleacher Report's Matt Miller projected Key to the San Francisco 49ers at No. 59 overall in the second round in his most recent mock draft. 

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