ESPN’s much-hyped first mock draft by analyst Mel Kiper Jr. was published today and former Arizona running back Ka’Deem Carey is not listed in the first round.
Anthony Gimino of TucsonCitizen.com quoted yesterday NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang, a respected NFL draft analyst, that Carey has first-round potential.
The lone running back listed in Kiper’s first round is Ohio State’s Carlos Hyde going to the home state Cleveland Browns with the 26th pick. According to multiple draft analysts, Cleveland, Miami, Atlanta and Tennessee are teams that have the running back position as one of their greatest needs for the draft in May.
Kiper reasons that the Browns may not draft Hyde with the No. 26 pick but trade the spot to move up and grab a quarterback. “Hyde is certainly no lock here, but this does reflect where I think the league will value him,” Kiper writes.
Kiper has Texas A&M quarterback Johnny Manziel as the No. 1 pick overall by the Houston Texans. The highest Pac-12 player in his mock draft is UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr going to Atlanta with the No. 7 pick. USC wide receiver Marqise Lee is the No. 18 pick by the Jets.
Two Oregon State players are slated to go late in the first round — wide receiver Brandin Cook to Carolina with the 28th pick and defensive end Scott Crichton to Denver with the 31st selection.
Carey reportedly made the decision to forego his senior season because at least two NFL team gave him a first-round grade during the draft advisory process.
Before the season started, Kiper rated Carey the third-best running back prospect behind Oregon’s DeAnthony Thomas and Baylor’s Lache Seastrunk. Thomas was beset by an ankle injury that kept him out five weeks this season.
Kiper’s scouting report on Carey: “He really explodes upfield when he gets a seam, and gets through arm tackles with good pad level and strong leg drive and determination.”
In November, Kiper included Carey among the top prospects along with LSU’s Jeremy Hill, Wisconsin’s Melvin Gordon III and Seastrunk. Kiper finally included Hyde among his “Big Board” prospects in December.
Rang’s assessment of Carey as told to Gimino: “He’s not just an interior or exterior runner. He can do everything. That’s arguably his greatest strength, that he can do it all.”