Insider Scouting Report: Don Carey

Did the Browns get a bargain in the sixth round with smart, small-school cornerback Don Carey? Dave-Te Thomas gets you more info on Carey than you can find anywhere else on the web...



Norfolk State University Spartans



Norfolk, Virginia

Booker T. Washington High School


Carey is a versatile defender who has experience at free safety and both cornerback positions. He is an efficient man coverage defender who does a nice job of staying on the hip of the receiver. He is smart and instinctive enough to have handled the call in the secondary and seems to have a knack for being in position to make the big play.

Carey did not begin competing in organized football until his junior year at Booker T. Washington high School. He was a second-team All-Eastern District pick as a senior, when he tied for the team-lead with eight interceptions.

He was also a successful receiver and kick returner for the Bookers, as he scored six total touchdowns as a senior, five on receptions and one on a punt return. Carey caught 23 passes in his final season, including two for touchdowns in an Eastern Region playoff game. He also excelled in the classroom, earning academic honors as he graduated with the second-highest grade point average on the team.

In 2005, Carey earned Freshman All-American honors at Norfolk State. He started the final ten games at free safety. He registered a career-high 62 tackles (32 solos), as he caused one fumble and recovered two others. He also picked off a pass and had seven pass break-ups, as he was a member of the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference All-Academic squad.

As a sophomore, Carey was bothered late in the year by an ankle sprain. He started the first six games at free safety before shifting to right cornerback, posting 27 tackles (18 solos). He recovered two fumbles again, deflecting eight passes while intercepting another, as he again received MEAC academic accolades.

In 2007, Carey earned All-MEAC second-team honors. He ranked third in the league with eleven passes defended; eight break-ups and three thefts. He manned the right corner-back position, producing 48 tackles (28 solos) with four stops for loss. For the third year, he made the MEAC academic team and was the recipient of the Army Strong Award, given to the player that excelled in the community, classroom and football field.

Carey garnered All-American and All-MEAC recognition as a senior. He tied for the league title with five interceptions, returning one 94 yards for a touchdown. He was in on 42 tackles (35 solos) and added three QB pressures. He also scored on one of two fumble recoveries and broke up six passes while blocking an extra point try.


2008 Best Games Kentucky, North Carolina A&T, South Carolina State, Morgan State, Delaware State

2008 Worst Games Bethune-Cookman, Hampton, Florida A&M

2007 Best Games South Carolina State, Hampton, Florida A&M, Morgan State, Delaware State, Winston-Salem

2007 Worst Games Virginia State, Rutgers, North Carolina A&T



Athletic Ability

Carey has good timed speed and the agility to sharply change direction. He keeps his feet on the move and uses his quickness to stay on the receiver's hip and mirror his assignment throughout the route. Even though he does not stay in his backpedal too long, he has good balance coming out of transition. His straight-line speed does not always translate on the field, as he does not show suddenness or burst to close coming up from the deep zone. When he gets too high in his stance, he will allow separation…GRADE-6.5

Football Sense

Carey does a good job of reading plays. He gets a good jump out of his pedal and has the ability to anticipate receivers' moves through the routes. He does not need more than normal reps to retain plays. He is a good student and will not have problems with the mental aspect of the game. He is not really a "coach on the field," but because of his versatility, he is counted on to make assignment adjustments in the secondary. His zone technique is still raw, but he does apply himself on the field and gives good effort… GRADE-6.4


Carey is a player with very good maturity. He is not as vocal as most Norfolk State defenders have been in the past, but is responsible, courteous and will do whatever the coaches ask. He comes from a supportive family and "takes care of business" in the classroom and on the field. The coaching staff speaks highly of him, citing his leader by example attitude. He does not buy into the hype about his draft status and does not think that he is better than he is. In short, he is a blue chip player with a blue-collar work attitude…GRADE-6.3


You will never see Carey take plays off, but he will hesitate sometimes to come up and support vs. the run. He will compete for jump balls, but when he gets bounced around by the bigger blockers, you will see him play soft. He is a player that knows he cannot play bigger than he is due to strength issues, but he just wish that he would put more "umph" behind his hits…GRADE-5.8

Work Habits

Carey does what is asked by the coaches, whether in the weight room or in practices. He gets the most out of his slight frame. He is a good program type that is known for his work ethic. He puts in extra hours studying film and can take to hard coaching…GRADE-6.2


Key and Diagnostic Skills

Carey plays with good field vision. He is quick to pick up schemes and gets a good jump on the ball because of the way he can anticipate the receiver's moves through the route. He is late to turn when eyeing the quarterback in zone coverage, but has proven effective at reaching around and knocking the pass away from the receiver. He seems to do a better job of recognizing the plays develop when it is in front of him than in deep territory… GRADE-6.4

Man Coverage Ability

With his quickness, balance and hip snap, Carey can turn and make plays on the ball, even though he does not stay in his peddle as long as I would like. He does a good job of shadowing the receiver in the short area and can trail on deep routes due to his acceleration. He is not the type that will allow a big cushion, preferring to stay on the hip of the opponent. He moves and adjusts to the receiver's moves much better when he stays close to his assignment. He can get turned around some by the bigger receivers on deep routes, but will generally mirror without much separation…GRADE-6.6

Zone Coverage Ability

While he can stay tight with the receiver on deep routes, he seems to lack the aggression to combat them for the ball. He needs to be more decisive on combo routes. He is much better locating receivers in front of him, but even with his quickness, he does not generate explosion or burst to close in a hurry. His cover skills are more effective playing the man, as he needs to react quicker in the zone…GRADE-5.7

Backpedal Skills

Carey's ability to open his hips and turn instantly gives him good range coming out of his pedal, despite using a shuffle-and-bail technique. He is active with his feet, especially when moving back, planting and changing direction. He keeps his pad level low and is usually in control through transition. He no longer gets high on his heels, which used to cause him to look a little sluggish when shuffling his feet through routes. The thing you see on film is that he shows very little hesitation or wasted motion in his plant-and-drive…GRADE-6.3

Ball-Reaction Skills

Carey has very quick feet and does not take false steps, but even with his good timed speed, you do not always see the burst needed to close in a hurry. While he does not seem sudden closing on the ball, he does know how to use his long arms to reach around and break up the pass. He times his leaps well going up for the ball, but you just wish he'd show more suddenness to close across and down the field…GRADE-6.2


Carey is the type that prefers to mirror the receiver throughout the route rather than give up some cushion. Perhaps this is due to his inability to break suddenly on the ball and generate the second gear needed to recover when a receiver gets ahead of him. He has the foot speed to shadow through the route, but when he loses a step, he fails to catch up… GRADE-5.7

Jumping Ability

Carey shows the body control, flexibility and change of direction skills to be effective coming out of his breaks. He does a good job of timing his leaps and reaching around the receiver to deliver the pass deflection. He needs to get more aggressive with his hands combating for the jump ball, though. He takes good angles out of his breaks in order to get position and defend the ball. When he gets an early start on the play, he will usually make the pass deflection…GRADE-6.4


Carey does an adequate job of fielding the ball, but there were several potential interceptions that resulted in pass deflections. He will extend and time his leaps to catch the ball away from the body's frame. His hands are much better for the break-up than the pass theft. His hands appear semi-soft and smaller than ideal, but despite his speed, his slight frame makes it tough to consider him for return duties…GRADE-6.0

Run Defense

The effort is there, but Carey takes poor angles in pursuit, as he seems to wait for the run plays to work its way to the perimeter, as he will not force the issue when working near the line. He lacks any physicality behind his hits and is more of an ankle biter who will hang on until help arrives. When he peeks inside, he will lose leverage in back side pursuit. He gets tied up too often, because he plays soft trying to get off blocks…GRADE-5.3

Tackling Ability

Carey is more of a drag down, cut-type tackler than one who will face up, stalk and wrap. He has adequate strength to plug rush lanes and leaves his feet too much when making plays and will never be confused as a "thud them up" type in the open…GRADE-5.5

Compares To

FERNANDO BRYANT-Pittsburgh…Like Bryant in his prime (not the present version), Carey is a solid man coverage defender, but needs to work on his zone coverage technique. He will never be a punishing tackler and his smaller than ideal hands will see more potential interceptions convert into pass deflections instead. He might be better off bulking up, improving his strength and shifting to free safety, as he does a solid job of handling plays underneath.



Carey started 40-of-44 games at Norfolk State; sixteen at free safety, twelve at right corner-back and twelve at left cornerback…Recorded 179 tackles (113 solos) with 7.5 stops for losses of 30 yards and three quarterback pressures…Caused one fumble and recovered six others, returning one 49 yards for a touchdown…Blocked two extra point attempts and deflected 29 passes…Gained 181 yards with a school-record 94-yard touchdown on ten interceptions…Became the first player in school history to play in the East-West Shrine Game (2009).


All-American third-team selection by The NFL Draft Report…All-Mid Eastern Athletic Conference second-team choice…Named Norfolk State Male Athlete of the Year…Moved to right cornerback, starting all twelve games…Ranked seventh on the team with 42 tackles (35 solos), as he had a stop for a 5-yard loss and three pressures…Recovered two fumbles for 57 yards in returns, including a 49-yard score…Deflected six passes and tied for the league title with five interceptions for 115 yards in returns, including a 94-yard touchdown…Also blocked an extra point attempt…Helped the team rank 15th in the nation in pass defense (160.33 ypg).


North Carolina A&T…Carey delivered four tackles (2 solos) with a third-down pressure, as he also killed a second quarter possession when he picked off a Herb Miller pass at the NSU 32…Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#3-Chaz Dawson-Two catches for 14 yards with a long of 9.

William & Mary…The right cornerback had his second interception for the season and came up with three solo tackles…Despite being held on the play, he made a leaping, one-handed pass break-up of a toss intended for receiver Elliott Mack and two plays later on third-&-20, he knocked another Jake Phillips screen pass out of Mack's hands, bringing on the W&M punting unit…On the next series, he intercepted a Phillips pass at the NSU 23… Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#15-Chase Hill-Three catches for 22 yards with a long of 12.

South Carolina State…Carey was credited with three solo tackles and a pair of pass break-ups…He killed an early first quarter drive when he scooped up a ball that Octavius Darby fumbled after a 27-yard catch and returned the pigskin 8 yards to the NSU 43…Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#2-Dustin DuBose-One catch for 18 yards.

Morgan State…Carey was limited to three tackles (2 solos), but a little bit of thievery resulted in a pair of interceptions…Late in the third quarter, he picked off a Jeremy Glover attempt at the NSU 1-yard line, killing a 7-play, 39-yard series…With 1:24 left in the game, he intercepted a deep throw by Mario Melton at the NSU 6 and raced 94 yards for a touchdown…It was the longest interception runback in school history…Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#15-Terrell White-Two catches for 48 yards with a long of 30.

Delaware State…Carey followed up that performance with another stellar effort, as he blocked a kick, made three tackles, intercepted a pass and returned a fumble recovery for a touchdown…He knocked the ball out of receiver John Newman's hands, recovered the ball and took it back 49 yards for a score…With 2:22 left in the first half, he picked off a pass near midfield and returned it 21 yards, setting up a 4-yard touchdown by NSU's Jamar Johnson on a second-&-goal toss from Dennis Brown…He later blocked an extra point kick with 0:26 remaining in the game…Main Pass Coverage Assignment-WR#16-John Newman-Two catches for 29 yards with a long of 20.


Earned All-MEAC second-team honors…Recipient of the Army Strong Award, given to the football player who best exemplifies community service and achievement on the field and in the classroom…Selected to the NSU and MEAC Commissioner's All-Academic Teams…

Started all eleven games at right cornerback, collecting 48 tackles (28 solos) with four stops for losses of 16 yards…Blocked an extra point attempt, deflected eight passes and intercepted three others for 61 yards in returns…Helped the Spartans rank fifth in the nation in pass defense, giving up 147.82 yards per game.


Made seven tackles (5 solos), as he picked off one pass and deflected another vs. Bethune-Cookman…Made three stops with a pass deflection and blocked the potential tying extra point with 27 seconds left in NSU's 20-19 win over Hampton…Had a pair of interceptions, his first career multi-interception game, a week later at Florida A&M, as he returned one of those interceptions 61 yards inside the FAMU 10-yard line, setting up NSU's go-ahead touchdown in the third quarter and his second interception came on FAMU's final drive of the game, clinching the Spartans' 33-27 victory…Registered nine tackles (3 solos), broke up two passes and also intercepted a pass in the end zone during the fourth quarter of NSU's win at Morgan State…Posted a career-high 11 tackles, one for loss, at Delaware State, as he limited MEAC Offensive Player of the Year, receiver Shaheer McBride, to four catches for 16 yards…Closed out the season with eight tackles that included 1.5 stops behind the line of scrimmage vs. Winston-Salem.


Selected to the NSU and MEAC Commissioner's All-Academic Teams…Emerged as one of NSU's most versatile and valuable defensive backs, as Carey saw time at free safety for the first six games before shifting to right cornerback…Played in ten games, missing the Howard and Morgan State contests due to an ankle injury…Recorded 27 tackles (18 solos) with a stop for a 4-yard loss…Recovered a pair of fumbles, as he intercepted one pass and batted down four others.


Registered four tackles and forced a fumble in the opener with Virginia State…Intercepted a pass, broke up another and made a season-high seven tackles at Bethune-Cookman… Added two solo tackles and two pass deflections in his first career start at cornerback in the season finale with Winston-Salem State.


Saw the most action of any 2005 freshman on Norfolk State's defense, as he started the final ten contests at free safety…Finished fourth on the team with 62 tackles (32 solos), including 1.5 stops for minus 5 yards…Caused one fumble and recovered two others… Deflected seven passes and returned an interception 5 yards.


Named MEAC Rookie of the Week after he forced a fumble, had his first career interception and made five tackles, one for a loss, in the season-ending win over Liberty…Made nine tackles and recovered a fumble vs. Florida A&M…Also registered nine tackles vs. both North Carolina A&T and Delaware State.


2006-Sat out the Howard (10/28) and Morgan State (11/04) games with a high ankle sprain.


4.49 in the 40-yard dash…1.47 10-yard dash…2.59 20-yard dash…4.20 20-yard shuttle…

6.87 three-cone drill…32.5-inch vertical jump…10'2" broad jump…Bench pressed 225 pounds 18 times…30 ½-inch arm length…8 ¼-inch hands.


Attended Booker T. Washington (Norfolk, VA.) High School…Did not begin competing in organized football until his junior year…Second-team All-Eastern District pick as a senior, when he tied for the team-lead with eight interceptions…Was also a successful receiver and kick returner for the Bookers, as he scored six total touchdowns as a senior, five on receptions and one on a punt return…Caught 23 passes in his final season, including two for touchdowns in an Eastern Region playoff game…Excelled in the classroom, earning academic honors as he graduated with the second-highest grade point average on the team.


Building Construction Technology major with a 3.32 grade point average, earning MEAC academic honors three times…Representative this year on the school's Student-Athlete Advisory Committee…Son of Karen and William Robinson…Born Don Juan Carey III on 2/14/87…Resides in Norfolk, Virginia.

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