4th year veteran selected in the 4th round (115th) in the 2016 draft out of Minnesota. After playing 11 games his rookie year, Campbell has not missed a game since, and has started all but 4 games in the last 3 years, including 16 in 2019 registering over 90 tackles in years 2-4, with a career best in 2019 with 129 with a snap count no less than 83% over those 3 years. Impressive numbers for a guy who plays outside and inside for a team that’s dealt with a large number of devastating injuries to its defense over the years. Campbell is 26 and will be 27 in July and could be an under-the-radar guy that receives more money than people think because of the 3-4/4-3 versatility and production and every position.
Good, thick balanced build that seems to make him look much bigger than the 235lbs he listed as with good arm and hand length. Good AA: quick twitch and explosiveness off the ball with good acceleration get him going downhill fast and demonstrates a very good ability on how to throw around his weight. This AA also translates to good sideline-to-sideline speed. Good competitive toughness: does a good job exploding through gaps to stop ball carriers, and does a good job tackling and wrapping up to negate any yards after contact. Runs down completed passes when he’s back at the LOS and displays that stamina for all 4 quarters. Fights through traffic in his pursuit to the RB; gets skinny and gives the OL a small target to grab onto as he keeps his leverage and squares up to tackle. Good ability to set the EDGE in the run game from ILB and OLB positions. Gets to the OT or TE quickly and attacks the outside shoulder of blocker and puts himself in position to wrap up carriers that bounce outside, and also does a good job trying to force the play inside. Good mental processing: stays disciplined on misdirection plays and playing backside contain. Good pass rush up the middle; pad level stays low, utilizes good play strength and tenacity through the LOS. Shows good UOH up the middle; gets hand high and inside the OL’s to knock off-balance and continue pursuit to the QB. Pass coverage: does a good job keeping things in front of him in his zone, and puts himself in good position for PBU’s and to take away the check-down.
Adequate ability to shed blocks if the OL can get to the 2nd level. Play strength and UOH struggle to create separation and gets driven out of the play. Adequate pass rush ability off the EDGE; isn’t nuanced enough to be trusted to win in obvious 1-on-1 situations and is better suited in coverage. Adequate ability to feel the blind side block coming from WR’s. On HB toss plays, gets blocked out of the play by WR’s and allows OL to get to the 2nd level.
Atlanta is projected to have somewhere around $5M in cap space this spring (before any unsuspecting roster cuts), and their highest paid FA from the 2019 season made roughly $5M. This puts Atlanta in a difficult spot with their current roster. They had a brutal start to their season and towards the end of the season, managed to put things together. Former 1st round pick and Safety Keanu Neal dealt with another season-ending injury, and with a $6M cap hit and 0 guaranteed money in 2020, one would think he’s the obvious cut that doubles the team’s cap space. However, Atlanta still might lose Campbell; he’ll only be 27 when the season begins and displays plenty of scheme versatility that most teams will find appealing. He can play ILB in a 3-4 just as well as he can play OLB in a 4-3, and with more and more teams being forced to play more Base Nickel than ever, Campbell’s athleticism, feel in coverage and run stopping abilities are a tremendous value as a 3-down LB. From what I’ve read, there isn’t much regarding his number in FA, and I’m not sure if Atlanta is going to tie up more money into another LB (Deion Jones making 14.25M/yr) and they’re stuck against the cap. I think a team like Arizona, who ran 84% Nickel defense in 2018, could be a destination for Campbell. Also, teams like Las Vegas and Tennessee, run a lot of Nickel, and depending on the price tag, Campbell could be a tremendous value upgrade that certainly replaces the need to spend a high pick on that position.