De’Vondre Campbell Could Give Defense A Lift

The Green Bay Packers went 13-3 last season, won the NFC North and reached the NFC Championship Game for a second straight year. The Packers lost to Tampa Bay, though, 31-26, in the conference title game and the offseason has been packed with drama.

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers wants out of Green Bay, but the Packers have insisted they won’t move him. Stay tuned for more theatrics there in the days ahead.

With or without Rodgers, Green Bay will start training camp on July 27. Throughout the rest of the month, I will count down the ‘30 Most Important Packers’ heading into the 2021 campaign.

At No. 29 is inside linebacker De’Vondre Campbell. The other players that have been revealed in the top-30 are listed at the bottom of the story.

No. 29

ILB, De’Vondre Campbell

Last season: Campbell finished the season with 99 tackles, two sacks, seven tackles for loss, three pass breakups and a forced fumble.

Campbell started all 16 games and was outstanding in the first half of the season. In the second half, though, he battled minor injuries and eventually lost playing time to rookie first-round pick Isaiah Simmons.

Career to date: Campbell was a fourth-round draft choice by Atlanta in 2016 when current Packers coach Matt LaFleur was still the Falcons’ quarterbacks coach.

Campbell started from Day 1 in Atlanta, and in four years had 345 tackles, 5.5 sacks, three interceptions and five forced fumbles. Campbell’s best season came in 2019 when he posted 122 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and three forced fumbles.

He signed a one-year contract with Arizona in March 2020, then left in free agency after his lone season with the Cardinals.

Outlook: Prior to Campbell’s signing, Green Bay had arguably the most pedestrian inside linebacker group in football. So the 28-year-old Campbell will be given every chance to win a starting job over Kamal Martin or Krys Barnes in training camp.

The 6-foot-4, 232-pound Campbell has unique length for the position. He also ran the 40-yard dash in an impressive 4.58 seconds coming out of Minnesota in 2016.

Campbell is outstanding at sealing the edge and has a career missed tackle rate of just 6.9%.

According to Pro Football Focus, Campbell has a coverage grade of 69.1 when he’s playing zone, but just 38.7 in man. So it will be up to defensive coordinator Joe Barry to put him in positions to excel.

Comments

“I was fortunate enough to be with De’Vondre back when we drafted him in Atlanta, and studied a lot of his film with Arizona. He’s a guy that is a big long guy that can run. Definitely brings a different dynamic to that room in his ability to just cover, whether it’s tight ends or backs. And we think he’s a really versatile player. I think he’s a great person first and foremost, which I think is so important for our team.”  — Packers coach Matt LaFleur on Campbell

“Most linemen are 6-4, 6-5 and so am I. When they’re trying to climb on me, I can use my length to keep them away from me and try to find the ball. Also, when I’m in coverage against tight ends, most of them are bigger guys. Usually, it’s a mismatch if a safety or a corner is on them. It’s not really a mismatch with me because I can matchup with them.” — Campbell on being a taller linebacker

“Wonderful athlete. We’re still learning everybody on the team. He’s a new guy but off rep, he sees it fast, quick and he’s able to help us fast. I’m happy for him being here, being a part of the Pack and for his success to come.” — Packers outside linebacker Rashan Gary on Campbell

THE TOP 30

• No. 30 — OG Jon Runyan

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