Sometime this week, Ka’Deem Carey will lift the “protected/blocked’’ mechanism from his twitter feed and announce he will enter the NFL draft. It’s as inevitable as a January snowplow in Minnesota.
He will leave Arizona because he has carried the ball 744 times in three seasons, which is one more carry than former Oregon State battering ram Steven Jackson got before leaving the Beavers to gain 10,678 NFL yards. It is 73 more carries than Stanford bull-rusher Toby Gerhart had before he became the
No. 51 overall pick of the Minnesota Vikings.
Carey belongs in their company, Jackson and Gerhart, Pac-12 contemporaries who made their reputation (and NFL money) by toughness, durability and being at the scene of more big hits than Taylor Swift.
Last year’s 50th overall NFL draft pick, Florida Gators linebacker Jon Bostic, received a signing bonus of $1,246,036 and a salary of $716,509 to play for the Chicago Bears.
Can Ka’Deem Carey, father of a small child, turn down that sort of financial jackpot? Should he?
This is not at all like Arizona tailback Chris Henry skipping his senior season, 2007, to enter the draft. Henry was the 50th overall selection and his “big’’ year at Arizona was 581 yards, most of it coming in one splendid afternoon against the Oregon Ducks.
Henry was an NFL combine superstar, winning the vertical leap, the 40-yard dash and the weightlifting competition. The Tennessee Titans gave him $412,000 the first year, a signing bonus of almost $700,000 and thought they had discovered gold.
Henry gained a scant 122 yards in the NFL, was waived a year later by the Titans, and spent time briefly on the practice squads at Houston and Seattle. This is no Chris Henry.
Carey won’t win the 40-yard dash with all the NFL scouts watching. He doesn’t have that straight-line speed. But he has a ready smile, a team-first approach and for the next five or six years, he’ll take a handoff on third-and-short and get a first down.
A lot of people say Carey must leave Arizona because he has carried 744 times and there’s a limit to how many hits any football player can take. It is, if nothing else, a game of chance.
The Pac-10’s 2008 offensive player of the year was Oregon State’s Jacquizz Rodgers, a gnat-type halfback who carried 788 times for the Beavers (44 more than Carey at Arizona).
I kept hearing analysts say Rodgers was too small, he’d been beaten up too much a OSU. Yet in the NFL, with 374 combined rushes/receptions, Rodgers has become an offensive weapon of choice for the Atlanta Falcons, gaining a composite 1,830 yards in three years.
I don’t hear anyone say Ka’Deem Carey isn’t ready, or can’t take the punishment.
If he goes, you’ll say he made the best choice for himself. If he stays, you’ll wonder why.