2004 Draft Prospect Interview: Vernon Carey

Teams like the Steelers looking for a massive power blocker to plug in at right tackle for the next 10 or so seasons might look no farther that "The Hulk."

No, not the jolly green giant of Marvel Comics fame, but the University of Miami's 6-foot-5, 350-pound Vernon Carey, a powerful road grader who was a three-year letterman and two-year starter for the Hurricanes' college football factory.

Carey is currently rehabbing his knee after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus suffered during Miami's 16-14 Orange Bowl victory over Florida State and preparing for the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

Carey, who played right tackle during his junior season, but moved to guard as a senior because of injuries on the Miami offensive line, has the size and strength to be a very good run blocker in the NFL, but also has excellent feet, something he plans on showing at Miami's pro scouting day Feb. 28.

Carey just began running at full speed again this week, so he doesn't want to push things too much at the combine.

"My main goal will be to just do the bench," said Carey of his plans for the Indianapolis combine. "Later, we have our Pro Day, Feb. 28. It's a little challenge for me, but I'm going to be ready for it."

Carey has used the time off from the football field his injury has provided him to work on something that may have been a concern to the NFL - his weight. In order to help lessen the stress on his knee and improve his quickness, he's dropped more than 15 pounds from his playing weight since the season ended.

"I'm trying to get my weight down. I played at 349, 350. Right now, I'm at 334," Carey said. "I just want to show the scouts and NFL teams that I can play both positions and let them know I didn't get moved because I couldn't play the position. I just did that to help the team out."

Even so, the versatility he showed at Miami could help him in the NFL.

"If they want me to play tackle, I'll play tackle. If they want me to play guard, I'll play guard," he said. "That's just what I'm going to do."

When you play at Miami, where the guy lining up against you every day in practice is just as likely to end up in the NFL as you are, every day is a test. Carey passed those tests, and his move from tackle to guard with flying colors, despite lining up on a daily basis against the likes of Vince Wolfork, William Joseph and Jerome McDougle.

"I knew what the tackle spot was, but (moving) helps you understand the game a little more because I'm still young. I learned a lot at the University of Miami and they taught me well," Carey said.

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