The 5 biggest NFL Draft busts in Arizona Football history

Arizona Football isn't known as an NFL factory, but it has produced a handful of players with high NFL Draft capital. Some panned out, of course, but here are five of the biggest NFL Draft busts in Arizona Football program history.

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KC. 57. . 4. Running back. 2014 4th round, 117 overall. Ka'Deem Carey. . Ka'Deem Carey. player

Ka'Deem Carey
Chicago Bears v St Louis Rams / Michael B. Thomas/GettyImages

By the time Carey had finished his third year at Arizona and declared for the 2014 NFL Draft, he had amassed 4,239 rushing yards and 48 touchdowns — both Arizona program records. He logged 2,232 scrimmage yards (1,929 rush, 303 receiving) in 2012, and followed it up with a 2,058-yard season (1,885 rush, 173 receiving) in 2013. He was invited to the 2014 NFL Draft Combine but ended up posting the slowest time of all the backs that got drafted with a 4.7-second 40-yard dash.

It's a stretch to call Carey a bust given that he doesn't fit the typical mold. He was a mid-round draft pick and wasn't expected to be "the guy" — the Chicago Bears were in the midst of Matt Forte's prime and needed a backup to replace the outgoing Michael Bush. He mainly earns a "bust" label because his talents — which were graded at a first- to second-round level — were wasted behind a bellcow back like Forte. Over his three seasons in Chicago, Carey logged a mere 443 rushing yards, 131 receiving yards, and three total touchdowns before he was sent to injured reserve in 2017 and released just six days later.

Though his NFL career was done, his football career was far from over. He signed with (but didn't record any stats for) the CFL's Calgary Stampeders in 2018 near the end of the season just before the Stampeders won the Grey Cup. He proceeded to lead Calgary in rushing yards in 2019, 2021, and 2022. There was no 2020 CFL season, and he was finally outshined in 2023 by Dedrick Mills, who served as Carey's backup during his 1,088-yard 2021 season. Regardless, Carey carved out a successful professional football career; it just wasn't in the NFL like many thought.