Chicago Bears: Ka’Deem Carey is Heir Apparent to Matt Forte


No matter how you look at it, Matt Forte is a great running back.  One of the few really strong draft picks during the Jerry Angelo era, Forte has been the one consistent part of the Chicago Bears’ offense for the last seven years.  Despite playing with eight different starting quarterbacks, four different offensive coordinators and more offensive line combinations than I care to count, Matt Forte still has over 10,000 total yards in his career.  If he can put together one or two more years of big production, I think he’s a shoe-in for the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

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That having been said, it’s time for the Chicago Bears to start looking for the next man up.  As good as Forte has been, he’ll turn 30 this December, which is typically an age where NFL running backs begin to decline.  He may be able to beat the odds, but his age combined with 2,260 total career touches make that a long shot at best.  I believe Matt Forte’s eventual replacement is already on the roster, in the form of 2013 fourth-round pick Ka’Deem Carey.

In the interest of being realistic, I feel like I should say that it will be extremely difficult for any one running back to replace Matt Forte.  Forte is one of the most complete backs in the NFL, which is part of the reason for the large amount of touches in his career.  The Bears will likely look for a committee of backs to replace him, but of the other running backs on the roster, I think Ka’Deem Carey has the best chance to become a complete player.

The only other who received any real consideration was 2015 fourth-round selection Jeremy Langford.  While I like Langford’s overall skill set and I think he will be a contributor, Ka’Deem Carey’s blocking ability, decisiveness and exceptional balance won me over.

Carey didn’t produce much last year, but he was an absolute beast in college.  Carey was a 2 year starter at the University of Arizona, and was a consensus All-American selection both seasons.  During that span he ran for 3,814 yards and 42 TD’s, carrying the Wildcat’s offense and setting numerous records.  He also showed solid ability to pick up the blitz and be a dependable receiver out of the backfield, with 77 career receptions for 679 yards and 4 TD’s.  If all these numbers aren’t enough to convince you, here are some highlights:

Prior to the 2013 NFL Draft, Ka’Deem Carey received a lot of attention and even had some pundits projecting him to go at the tail end of the first round. Unfortunately, some character questions and a poor combine performance that did nothing to alleviate the concerns of NFL scouting personnel about his long speed, led to him falling all the way to the 4th round, where the Bears eagerly snapped him up.

That was the previous regime, however, and Ka’Deem Carey will have to impress a whole new set of coaches if he wants to earn some playing time this year.  But I’m not too worried about it.  The lack of other viable options combined with John Fox’s well-known disdain for playing rookie running backs, says that he’ll get a shot to show what he can do.

I think the Bears got a potential steal in Carey during the 2013 NFL draft, and I think he can develop into a high-caliber running back at the professional level.  His versatile skill set makes me believe he could be the eventual replacement to Matt Forte, and I think we could see some flashes of that ability during the 2015 season.  We’ll have to wait and see, but there are a lot of reasons for optimism.

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