Summary: Over the past two seasons, Carey was one of the most productive running back in college football. He had a quiet freshman year, but he took college football by storm in 2012 as he led the nation in rushing. The sophomore ran for 1,929 yards and an average of 6.4 yards per carry. Carey scored 23 touchdowns on the ground. He hauled in 36 receptions for 303 yards and a score, too.
Carey averaged 5.4 yards per carry in 2013 for 1,885 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also caught 26 passes for 173 yards and a score. The junior exceeded 100 yards rushing in every game this season - excluding being suspended for the opener - with a 232-yard total against Utah. Carey recorded 132 yards on 30 carries against Washington and scored four touchdowns against Colorado. His most impressive performance was 206 yards and four touchdowns on 48 carries versus Oregon.
Carey is a slasher who has nice quickness and a burst to get into the second level. While he isn't a big back, he has some physicality to him and can pick up yards after contact. Carey had a number of big runs after breaking a tackle in the first 10 yards. However, his ability to get yards after contact will be diminished by NFL defenders. Carey isn't a burner back, so defensive backs can catch him from behind. His slow run at the Combine was further proof of that.
For the NFL, Carey's best trait could be his receiving ability. He is a nice checkdown back who has soft hands and knows how to get open. Like all backs, Carey needs help to develop blitz protection. However, he should become a good third-down back as a pro.
Carey looks like a mid-rounder for the 2014 NFL Draft. The highest he could possibly go is in the third round, but he shouldn't last too long if he falls to Day 3.
Player Comparison: Knowshon Moreno. Carey's running style is reminiscent of Moreno and Cadillac Williams. Both of those running backs were drafted in the first round, and in hindsight, that was probably too high. The running back position has been devalued, so Carey has a better chance of going in the mid rounds. Regardless, he looks similar to Moreno (5-11, 200) in the way they attack the defense with quickness, cutting ability, balance and vision. Moreno and Carey are similarly sized backs, too.
NFL Matches: Houston, Jacksonville, Tennessee, Cleveland, San Diego, Oakland, Miami, New York Jets, Atlanta
There are a lot of teams that are going to target running backs on the second day or in the mid-rounds of the 2014 NFL Draft.
In the AFC South, Carey has a few landing spots. The Jaguars could use a runner for their offense to pair with Toby Gerhart. The Titans moved on from Chris Johnson, and Carey would be a nice replacement as a back with some speed. The Texans could use a running back behind Arian Foster since Ben Tate left in free agency. Foster has had injuries so it looks very likely that Houston will be drafting a running back.
In the AFC West, San Diego needs an alternative to Ryan Mathews. Donald Brown may not offer much as a backup to the injury-prone Mathews. Carey would be a good fit for the Chargers' offense. Oakland re-signed Darren McFadden and added Maurice Jones-Drew, but they not be long-term options.
Elsewhere, the New York Jets could use a featured runner for their offense. Also in the AFC East, Miami is still searching for a stable running back. Carey could be brought in to compete with the organization's holdovers.
Cleveland could use another running back to pair with Ben Tate. If the Browns decide to address other positions in the first two rounds, the team could use one of its third-rounders on Carey. Cleveland could get a nice value by targeting a back like Carey in Round 3 or 4.
Atlanta made a short-term signing with Steven Jackson, but the Falcons need a starter for the long haul. Carey could be a nice fit in Atlanta.