The Green Bay Packers believe they add an important and versatile linebacker to the roster of De’Vondre Campbell, who officially signed with the team on Wednesday.
Coach Matt LaFleur mentioned he was with Campbell during his rookie season in Atlanta in 2016 and also said he “studied his film a lot” during Campbell’s season with the Arizona Cardinals. in 2020.
“He’s a big guy who can run. Definitely brings a different dynamic to this piece in its ability to cover whether it’s tight ends or fullbacks, ”LaFleur said Wednesday. “We think he’s a really versatile player. He is above all a great person, which is so important to our team.
Campbell is 6-4 with almost 34-inch arms, making him the tallest and longest linebacker on the roster. He also ran the 40-yard dash in 4.58 seconds out of Minnesota in 2016, highlighting his straight-line speed.
He also has extensive starting experience, with 70 starts in his first five seasons, including 16 games with the Cardinals last season.
The Packers are mostly inexperienced inside linebackers, although Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin – who played plenty of shots for Green Bay as rookies in 2020 – are both returning. Joe Barry’s defense also features linebackers Oren Burks, Ty Summers and Isaiah McDuffie, all draft picks in recent seasons.
Campbell, 27, provides the long athletic linebacker who has often occupied the defensive midfield coached by Barry, the Packers’ first-year defensive coordinator.
It is not known if Campbell will be a player who will make a difference for the Packers.
The team placed 32nd in the linebacker rankings at Pro Football Focus, suggesting a great need for help at the station group level. Even though Campbell can perform at an average level, he will likely be an upgrade from what the Packers have on the roster.
Then again, PFF hasn’t been kind to Campbell as a player during his career.
Of the 99 linebackers who played at least 20 percent of their team’s snaps last season, Campbell ranked 73rd for overall rating, 67th for run defense and 63rd for cover.
In his five seasons in the NFL, Campbell has four full seasons with an overall rating of less than 60.0, which makes him well below average by PFF standards. Although he’s a sure tackle, his ratings have always been disappointing against the run and in the cover.
LaFleur’s comment on Campbell’s hedging ability rings a bit hollow. For his career, Campbell allowed 14 touchdown passes, a 76.2 completion percentage and a 109.8 passer rating against his cover, per PFF. Tall and athletic doesn’t necessarily mean Campbell will be a great passing player.
The Packers hope Campbell can be a more effective player with better talent around him and in Barry’s pattern. At the very least, it will be exactly the kind of veteran competition the linebacker squad needed to start the summer. His length, athleticism and experience certainly bring a different dynamic to the position, as LaFleur said.