After spending their first three picks bolstering their defense, the Bears addressed their offense in the fourth round of the draft, selecting Arizona running back Ka'Deem Carey (117th overall).
Carey was very productive in three seasons at Arizona, where he became the school's all-time leader in rushing yards (4,239), rushing touchdowns (48) and all-purpose yards (5,483). The 5-9, 207-pounder was a consensus All-America selection each of his final two years.
"We feel very good about what Ka'Deem Carey has accomplished as a player," said general manager Phil Emery. "We felt like we got a quality running back at the right time in the draft.
"He has very good feet and eyes; that's where it starts in terms of run skill. He's one of the runners in the draft that we felt best about as far as a guy that really lowers his pads and has contact balance; that can really push through open-field contact and keeps his feet and keeps gaining additional yards."
See select photos of RB Ka'Deem Carey, the Bears fourth-round pick (117 overall) in the 2014 NFL Draft.
Carey rushed for at least 100 yards in each of his final 16 games at Arizona dating back to 2012, the longest streak in Pac-12 history.
"I would definitely say my running style is hungry, it's aggressive, it's fighting for every yard for my team, and every down is meaningful for me," Carey said.
In his first full season as a starter in 2012, Carey led the FBS in rushing with a school-record 1,929 yards and 23 touchdowns on 303 carries while also catching 36 passes for 303 yards and 1 TD. He set a Pac-12 record with 366 yards while scoring five TDs against Colorado.
"We got ourselves a heck of a football player," said coach Marc Trestman. "He loves football. He's passionate about it. He's tough. He's been extremely productive. He's all-purpose. We view him as a three-down back who can play in any situation and run routes out of the backfield and certainly run inside and outside, so we're excited about him."
Carey was involved in two off-the-field incidents after the 2012 season. He was charged with misdemeanor assault and disorderly conduct stemming from a domestic violence incident (the charges were later dropped) and was ejected from an Arizona basketball game after an altercation with a security guard.
As a result, Carey was suspended for Arizona's season opener and did not start the Wildcats' second contest. He eventually appeared in 12 games with 11 starts, rushing for 1,885 yards and 19 touchdowns on 349 carries and catching 26 passes for 173 yards and one touchdown.
Asked about the two off-the-field incidents, Carey said: "It's something you just have to learn from and go through it. If you don't go through it, you won't learn from the experience, and as long as you learn from it and grow from it to be a young man and put it behind you and don't make the same mistakes, I feel like you'll be OK. I'm given a second chance with the Chicago Bears and I'm excited."
Emery said that the Bears did extensive research on Carey's character following those incidents.
"I see us all as unique people, but we have a common path which is called imperfection, and we're always trying to work back toward center and we're all the same in that regard," Emery said. "I think the most important thing is, 'Are you trying to get back on the path and go the right way? Are you trying to improve as a person?'
"We certainly were very comfortable with his honestly about his past situations that he's had and we're certainly comfortable that he's on the right path."
Carey is eager to learn from Bears running back Matt Forte, who ranks second on the franchise's all-time rushing list with 6,666 yards, trailing only Hall of Famer Walter Payton.
"He's the man," Carey said. "Forte knows how to run that football, and me being the youngster and the rookie, I get to have the opportunity to play behind him and learn off a great running back. And just the history behind the running backs for the Chicago Bears is so great, I feel honored just to be a running back on the Chicago Bears. I love it."
Apparently dealing with a faulty phone, Carey found out that the Bears had selected him when he saw his name on television.
"I had a workout late with the Chicago Bears and I was just hoping that went far and they believed in me and they put me on the board and they saw some good things in me," Carey said. "Every time they came up late, especially in the fourth round, I was looking hard. When my name popped up, my head just went 100 miles per hour. It was just so crazy."
Carey said that while he always feels he has something to prove and was disappointed that he wasn't drafted earlier, he's not going to get too upset given the outcome.
"As long as you look at it and carry it in a good way, it's not that bad that I fell in the fourth [round]," Carey said. "I actually think that it was a blessing. God had something planned for me and he's just showing me the way right now."