The War Room: Vernon Carey, OL, Miami
Birthday: July 13, 1981
Strengths: Better not get Vernon Carey angry. For someone to be nicknamed “The Hulk”, he must’ve earned it somewhere along the line. One thing is certain: Carey is an “Incredible” prospect.
And he is a big reason why the Miami offensive line has been transformed from a pass blocking machine to a run blocking dynamo. He mows down defensive linemen using his strong legs and thick upper body to open rushing lanes wide enough for a hulky Oprah Winfrey. It’s no wonder why Willis McGahee set school records in 2002. While Carey uses his physicality to dominate in the running game, he also uses his quick feet to get in the right position at the snap of the fooball and maintain contact throughout the block.
Carey led the Hurricanes with 42 pancake blocks in 2002, and he added up 70 key blocks in 12 games. Carey played well in big games last season, earning the approval of his coaches with several of the team’s MVP awards in games against Florida, Florida State, among others.
Avoiding significant injury during his time at Miami, Carey has experience as both a guard and a tackle. After playing all of his junior season at right tackle and seemingly finding a home there, the Hurricane coaching staff moved him back to guard in spring practice in an effort to start their five best linemen. And it should be noted that Carey has faced some of the top defensive line talent in the country every day in practice because he can call guys like Vince Wilfork, William Joseph, and Jerome McDougle teammates.
Areas for Concern: Well, he’s a beefy lineman, so of course there’s some concern about his weight. Carey is an accomplished eater, and this is according to the guys who should know – – his offensive linemates. Carey has recognized the need to keep his weight in check, but he also thinks he’s in pretty good shape. He is, but he’d be wise though to improve his dedication to his conditioning program year-round, focusing on adding some strength, something he’ll really want to have in 2004.
Carey himself says he is working on improving his hands, specifically at keeping them up and punching. He also says he would like to come off the ball harder than before, with more explosion. These are things Carey already does better than most of his peers, but the players that seem to give Carey the most trouble are those with sound technique that are able to handle these sorts of things. And he’ll find plenty of those types in the NFL.
Though he’s experienced at guard, it’s not known whether Carey can do all the pulling that might be expected of him in the pros. Though linemen rarely dash for forty yards, Carey’s time estimate has slowed to around 5.3 seconds. This also limits his ability to make downfield blocks on linebackers. His pass blocking could also be improved, though giving up only three sacks last season isn’t that big of a concern, as he’s able to recognize and adjust to various stunts and blitzes. It just doesn’t appear to be a strength.
How Does He Look in Steel Blue? General Manager Charley Casserly seems to have acquired big uglies that are capable of handling more than one position on the offensive line. Carey is a talented enough prospect to have given serious consideration to leaving early for the draft, and Casserly has not been afraid to take good linemen like Carey in the second round.
Carey is similar to quarterback David Carr in that he’s been grounded by the birth of his son, using that maturity to help motivate him on the field. Seeing former Miami tackle Bryant McKinnie rake in hefty NFL cash has also been very motivating for Carey, so expect his play to continue to improve.
(profile written by Keith Weiland)
Vernon Carey Return to The War Room
Click on a player’s name to preview other top OL prospects:
>> Shawn Andrews
>> Vernon Carey
>> Nat Dorsey
>> Robert Gallery
>> Max Starks