NFL.com media analyst Bucky Brooks spent time in the National Football League as a player, then as a scout. He knows that people often overreact to slow 40-yard dash times leading into the draft, which is why former Arizona football running back Ka'Deem Carey's stock might be slipping after failing to crack the 4.60 mark during his combine performance.
On NFL.com, Brooks writes that as a member of the Carolina Panthers' front office, he moved cornerback Brandon Browner down on his draft board despite being enamored with his potential. Browner ran a 4.63 time in the 40-yard dash during his combine. Turns out, that didn't stop him from becoming a Pro Bowl talent.
Carey could see a similar drop in draft stock, but maybe he shouldn't. Brooks likes everything about Carey's physicality, mentality and tenacity. Then we come to the one flaw in Carey's game; if you can call it that.
He lacks the speed, explosion and burst to score from anywhere on the field despite having a number of 20- and 40-plus-yard runs on his resume at Arizona. Although skeptics of Carey's game frequently cite his top-end speed as a major concern, it is important to note that the Matt Forte and C.J. Spiller tied for the league-lead with four runs of 40-plus yards (Alfred Morris led the NFL with 10 20-plus yard runs). Thus, Carey's home-run speed shouldn't weigh heavily in the evaluation because of the lack of big runs that actually occur in pro games.
On the other hand, it didn't help Carey's stock that he went through a domestic dispute that were later dropped. Or that he got booted from a basketball game. But if the No. 1 rule NFL execs should abide by is taking combine results with a grain of salt, then Rule No. 2 -- one that's less often forgotten -- is that teams can toss character issues aside.
So where does Carey sit in current mock drafts? He still seems to have solid footing to go on Day 1 or Day 2 of the NFL draft.
On the low end, ESPN (Insider required) has Carey as the 129th-best prospect, CBS Sports ranks him as the 90th-best prospect, and SB Nation's Dan Kadar current has the former UA standout as the 66th-best prospect and the second-best running back in the draft behind Washington's Bishop Sankey.