The San Francisco 49ers are dealing with a big issue in deciding Reuben Foster’s future, and at the same time, they are not backing away from another potential question mark. The team worked out LSU edge rusher Arden Key on Wednesday, and then flew him to Santa Clara for an official visit on Friday, according to NFL Network reporter Ian Rapoport.
Key stands 6’6 with incredible arm length. He finished the 2016 season with 12 sacks, but things quickly went south for him. He took a leave of absence from the university last spring. He has not publicly discussed why he left, but The Advocate reporter Ross Dellenger reported that Key sought treatment for an off-the-field issue. He returned to the team well over weight at 280 pounds, but measured in at 238 pounds at the NFL Combine.
LSU head coach Ed Orgeron said he met with Key prior to the LSU Pro Day and simply told him, “When they ask him about why he left the team, just be honest. Look them in the eye and tell them, tell them that ‘I fixed it. I had a problem and I fixed it.’”
The 49ers clearly have interest in him. But where are they willing to pull the trigger on him in two weeks? At one point, Key was viewed as a potential top ten pick. As things got messy, his stock plummeted, and now projections suggest the third or fourth round. A third or fourth round pick carries considerably less risk than a first round pick, but what do you do if you are the 49ers considering a talented but question-plagued pass rusher?