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From Prospect to Pro: Comparing Ka'Deem Carey To Marshawn Lynch

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Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey is a well-balanced back with a great combination of power and speed. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.
Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey is a well-balanced back with a great combination of power and speed. Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images.

There is a deep group of running backs entering the 2014 NFL Draft, and three of them will be coming out of the Pac-12. Silas Redd of USC, De’Anthony Thomas of Oregon and Ka’Deem Carey of Arizona have three different running styles, but they all have proven to be productive college players with NFL potential. The most complete running back of the three, in my opinion, is Carey, and he brings back memories of another Pac-12 back, Marshawn Lynch.

Lynch is known for his long, tough runs which seem to last minutes long. His cuts on any given play are endless; he’ll keep running and juking until a group of defenders can wrestle him to the ground. Lynch isn’t as fast in 2013 with the Seattle Seahawks as he was with Cal in 2006; he can still  bounce it to the outside but he is mainly known for his tackle breaking and refusal to go down to the ground.

Carey, a junior, is a three-down back who thrives when running between the tackles. He follows blocks as good as any runner in the nation, which is an underrated attribute and it’s something he could have learned while watching Lynch at Cal. Carey (5-foot-10) isn’t a tall runner, but he isn’t small at 207 pounds. He’s able to take the big hits, like Lynch, who is 5-11, 215 pounds.

A big similarity between Carey and Lynch is the sneaky speed. Carey runs tough and bounces off big guys on the defensive line and then out of nowhere, he takes off. When he’s given any kind of room to run, his quick burst catches defenses by surprise and he’s off to the end zone quicker than they can react. Carey may be faster than Lynch ever was. He’s the most balanced running back prospect out there, blending tough running with above-average speed and flashy cuts. Carey can take hard hits, like Lynch, and simply gains momentum from those hits.

Carey had a Heisman-type season in 2012 with 1,929 yards rushing, 6.4 yards per carry, 303 receiving yards, and 24 total TDs. In his season debut against UNLV last week, Carey looked better than ever, running the ball 16 times for 171 yards and 2 TDs, averaging 10.7 yards per carry.  

Lynch has been a top NFL running back, when healthy, for the last seven years. Last year, he ran for 1,590 yards on 5 yards per carry and scored 12 total TDs. I think Carey is just as good as Lynch, if not, faster. Lynch was the 12th overall pick in the 2007 NFL Draft. I look for Carey to go somewhere in the second round next year as he’s one of the five best running backs in the nation.