It’s no secret that the Bears need help on their defensive edge, so naturally they’re going to do as much research as possible on every potential prospect that may fall into their lap in the 2018 NFL Draft. One of the names on that laundry list is LSU’s Arden Key, who has visited with Chicago, reports NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport.
Once considered the top edge rusher in this year’s draft, Key has fallen off the map due to a poor final season marked by injuries and inconsistencies with the Tigers. Cap that off with a poor Pro Day performance and that gives you the recipe for a steep decline in draft stock. He hasn’t followed his “major keys” to a tee.
All of this is unfortunate in retrospect, because after a sophomore season of 55 tackles, 12.5 tackles, and 11 sacks in his sophomore campaign: Key clearly failed to build on any momentum. Momentum that could’ve made him a lot of money. That hasn’t slowed his build towards still being a now potential Day 2 pick and salvaging what’s left of that mentioned draft stock, though.
Whoever does take Key understands the risks that come with his off-field pitfalls. If the Bears end up making the investment in the young pass rusher, they’ll have done so while being positive he can thrive in their structured environment. It’ll be about tapping into the talent that once had him highly touted among trusted veteran coaches and players such as Vic Fangio and Akiem Hicks.
With a little less than 10 days before the draft, the Bears are venturing into every opportunity at top prospects, Key included.
Robert Zeglinski is the Bears beat writer for The Rock River Times, an editor for Windy City Gridiron and Inside The Pylon, and is a contributor to Pro Football Weekly and The Athletic Chicago. You can follow him on Twitter @RobertZeglinski.