Michael Bush got the ax this off-season, so the Bears needed a backup behind Pro Bowl starter Matt Forte.
Arizona’s Ka’Deem Carey became the first running back selected by the Bears in the NFL Draft on Saturday since Forte (2008) with the No. 117 selection in the fourth round.
Carey will come into a pretty nice situation with Shaun Draughn and second-year man Michael Ford as the only other backs on the roster right now.
At 5-9, 207 pounds, Carey was named a consensus All-America selection in 2012 and 2013. The 2013 Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year finished his Arizona career as the school’s all-time leader with 4,239 rushing yards, 48 rushing touchdowns and 5,483 all-purpose yards.
After playing in 11 games as a freshman in 2011, he rushed for 425 yards and six touchdowns on only 91 carries. He also added 15 receptions for 203 yards and two touchdown receptions. He suffered a concussion in the season finale.
He took over as the starter in 2012 and went on to lead the FBS in rushing yards (1,929) and rushing yards per game (148.4), totaling 1,929 rushing yards and 23 rushing touchdowns on 303 carries. He averaged 6.4 yards per carry, while also contributing as a receiver with 36 receptions for 303 yards and a receiving touchdown.
Carey appeared in 12 games, making 11 starts in 2013. He added 1,885 yards and 19 rushing touchdowns on 349 carries. He also reeled in 173 yards and one touchdown with 26 receptions.
Had two games with four touchdowns, including an impressive performance against Oregon, where he rushed for 206 yards and four touchdowns on 48 carries.Carey also had a five-touchdown performance where he added a Pac-12 single game record 366 rushing yards in 2012.
Carey fell to this point in the draft because of a couple of off the field issues as well as a disappointing 40-yard dash (4.70) at the NFL Combine. He claims he has faster game speed than track speed, which could be the case as he has certainly excelled at the collegiate level.
Following the 2012 season he was charged with misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct stemming from a domestic violence incident with his then-pregnant ex-girlfriend, but the charges were later dropped.
Only a month later, in January he was kicked out of a UCLA-Arizona basketball game following an altercation with campus security. According to reports, Carey talked back to the officer asking him “do you know who I am?” The incident cost him a suspension for the season opener.
“Off the field, that’s something I can’t control,” Carey said in a team teleconference on Saturday. “But that’s something I can learn from and regroup and grow as a young man. It can definitely hurt you. … It’s in the past. It’s something you just have to learn from.”
The hope from Phil Emery and Marc Trestman is that the 21-year-old can mature and focus purely on football. He could be a nice change of pace back behind Forte as he has power and can help plenty as a receiving option out of the backfield.
Outstanding two-year production — piled up 3,814 yards and 42 touchdowns on the ground from 2012-13, ranking among the nation’s most prolific. Terrific compete level and determination — runs with energy, doesn’t go down easily and punctuates runs. Tries to punish tacklers and keeps his legs pumping — grinds out yards after contact. Good feet, acceleration and lateral agility. Spins off contact. Reliable shot receiver. Gets upfield with urgency after the catch and has enough shiftiness to create. Willing to throw a shoulder blow into rushers. Can handle a heavy workload — averaged 26 carries per game the last two seasons.
Lacks ideal size and has a narrow, high-cut build with a lean lower body. Upright running style exposes his body to some direct hits and durability could be an issue. Does not string moves together and does not have elite breakaway speed. Average wiggle and elusiveness (cuts off his heels). Faced light boxes in a spread, zone-read offense. Had nearly 850 touches in college and body has already endured a lot of punishment. Has been removed from some team boards for off-the-field transgressions/suspensions. Must prove committed.
Highly productive, hard-charging slasher who runs more competitively than he does powerfully and picks up yardage in chunks. Has some first-round traits and is one of the most instinctive runners in this year’s draft class, though his stock could be affected by off-the-field troubles and an average combine showing.
Carey is a determined back, who ran a ton at Arizona. He is an upgrade for the Bears and should get a chance to help ease the workload for Forte.
Emery once again found a nice talent in the later rounds of the draft. In his third draft as Bears general manager, he has made it clear that he knows how to find pure athletes. Carey becomes the first offensive player taking by the Bears joining cornerback Kyle Fuller and defensive tackles Ego Ferguson and Will Sutton in the 2014 Bears draft class.
Carey at the very least will provide much needed depth at the running back position.
The Bears still have three more picks in the 2014 draft: in the fifth round (No. 156), and two in the sixth round (Nos. 183 and 191).
Here is the rest of the full mock draft I wrote up on Thursday that breaks down all seven Bears picks, 2014 NFL Mock Draft: Chicago Bears Edition. Also, take a look at the analysis of the Kyle Fuller selection at No. 14 from the first-round.