Ka’Deem Carey finished his career at the University of Arizona as the school’s all-time leader in rushing yards, rushing touchdowns, total touchdowns and 100-yard games.
In all, he left Tucson owning or sharing 26 UA single-game, season and career records.
A two-time consensus All-American and the 2013 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year, he undoubtedly thought he’d hear his name called pretty early on draft weekend.
But throughout the entire process, it appears Carey’s stock is not particularly high. In fact, most pundits don’t have him among the top five or six running backs in the draft, regardless of his ridiculous amount of production in college.
NFL teams will regret that, according to NFL Network draft analyst Bucky Brooks.
“There’s not a more physical, a tougher, a more complete running back in this draft,” Brooks told Burns and Gambo on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM Friday. “I know people are taking him to task and he’s falling down the charts, but when he gets his opportunity in the league he’s going to shine.
“And we will be talking about this guy three years from now, why did we miss on him, how did we miss on a guy who was productive in big-time conference, why didn’t we take a chance on him?”
In three seasons with the Wildcats, Carey rushed for 4,232 yards and 48 touchdowns. His numbers weren’t as gaudy in 2013 as they were in 2012, but that had less to do with his play and more to do with the talent around him. An every-down back who benefited from an excellent passing game in 2012, he was essentially the team’s entire offense in 2013.
But he’s not a really fast running back or a really big one, and that seems to have hurt him over the last few months as NFL teams look to create their draft boards.
“People have not looked at the tape, they haven’t done their due diligence when it comes to watching what he’s done,” Brooks said. “Any time you’re able to put up 22 100-yard games the last two seasons against quality competition, and your own coach, Rich Rodriguez, said ‘this guy put our offense on his back.’
“He runs angry, he’s a forceful runner. Anyone who’s watched him understands this guy plays like a pro. I know his size and speed is a concern, but the game in the National Football League is played in a five or 10-yard box. How many of those five and 10-yard runs can you accumulate over the course of the game?”
Brooks believes Carey does that better than every other RB in the draft.
“I will put my check on him being a successful pro.”