During his three years at Arizona, Ka’Deem Carey could sometimes be too honest.

Whether it was talking about his desire to outshine Boston College’s Andre Williams in the AdvoCare V100 Bowl or wanting to make Oregon regret not offering him a scholarship in high school, Carey rarely held his tongue.

It made for can’t-miss interview sessions.

This week Carey showed a new side and wouldn’t take the bait — until he did.

With the NFL draft set to start tonight in New York City, Carey went the political route when asked if he had recognized the perception that his stock has fallen since the end of the season and all the questions about his lack of speed.

“You can’t pay attention to all that,” Carey said this week in a phone interview from San Diego. “You just have to keep going. You have to. If you really focus on all that, it can mess your mind up.”

But then that Carey honesty came out.

“At the same time, I definitely want to make a statement once I’m drafted,” Carey said. “My speed got me this far. I’m comfortable with it and my times. I can’t wait to show what I can do.”

Carey, projected as a mid-round pick in this weekend’s draft, will start getting to show what he can do very soon. The first round of the draft is tonight, Rounds 2 and 3 are Friday and the final four rounds are Saturday.

So at some point in the next three days, the speculation will end, and Carey will officially begin his NFL journey.

He spent the past few weeks at a training facility in San Diego and made the drive to Tucson on Wednesday.

The former Canyon del Oro High School star will spend all three days of the draft watching with his family and close friends in his hometown.

“Whatever happens, it will be good to be with my family and celebrate with them,” Carey said. “I just want to relax my mind and be with the people that have always been there for me. I can’t wait to be with my mom and see her reaction when I’m picked.”

Even if Carey has to wait around a while with his family before he’s picked, he won’t have any regrets. Whether he’s picked on Friday or Saturday, Carey said he’s confident in his decision to leave the UA a year early and forfeit his senior year of eligibility.

The two-time first-team consensus All-American left Arizona as the owner or co-owner of 24 school records. He finished his Arizona career with 4,239 yards over his three seasons. He also set school records in all-purpose yards (5,483), rushing touchdowns (48) and total touchdowns (52).

“I’ve been 100 percent confident in my decision the whole time,” Carey said. “I’m happy with it and haven’t given it any second thoughts. I loved my time at Arizona, but I was ready for a new challenge.”

Where Carey’s new challenge will come remains a mystery.

The running back didn’t want to divulge which NFL teams he talked to the most and worked out for in recent months but said he had interest from several clubs and “worked out for a couple.”

Growing up in Tucson, Carey was always a fan of the Philadelphia Eagles. When former UA quarterback Nick Foles and the Eagles lost in the playoffs in January, he knew his days as an NFL fan were over.

“When the Eagles lost, I actually shed a tear because I knew I could never root for them again,” Carey said.

Unless …

“Well if they pick me, then I’d be with Nick, and it would be Arizona all day out there, and we could start it all over,” Carey said.

If that happened, Rich Rodriguez would certainly have a new favorite NFL team. The Arizona coach said Wednesday that he thinks his former back will be a steal in this weekend’s draft, and he’s eager to see where Carey lands.

“He’s probably going to be a mid-round guy,” said Rodriguez, who thinks Carey will go in the third or fourth round. “I think he’ll make somebody a great every-down running back. I think they see there’s a lot of value in running backs drafted in those mid rounds, and I think Ka’Deem will be a great value for someone.”

And if you’re wondering, the coach who called Carey’s number 652 times the past two seasons isn’t worried about his speed either.

NFL teams “know that he’s got better game speed than so-called track speed,” Rodriguez said. “If somebody can get Ka’Deem in the third or fourth round, they got a steal.”

The Star's top 10

A look at what we think will happen with the top 10 picks in tonight’s first round of the NFL draft in New York City.

Number Team The pick Position School
1. Houston Texans Jadeveon Clowney DE South Carolina
2. St. Louis Rams Greg Robinson OT Auburn
3. Jacksonville Jaguars Khalil Mack OLB Buffalo
4. Cleveland Browns Johnny Manziel QB Texas A&M
5. Oakland Raiders Sammy Watkins WR Clemson
6. Atlanta Falcons Jake Matthews OT Texas A&M
7. Tampa Bay Buccaneers Mike Evans WR Texas A&M
8. Minnesota Vikings Aaron Donald DT Pittsburgh
9. Buffalo Bills Taylor Lewan OT Michigan
10. Detroit Lions Darqueze Dennard CB Michigan State

Star reporter Bruce Pascoe contributed to this report.

Contact reporter Daniel Berk at 573-4330 or dberk@azstarnet.com. On Twitter