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NFL Draft Prospect: Miami Defensive End Calais Campbell

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Calais Campbell eating a sack lunch

With the Combine behind us, pretty much, we're going to take a quick look at the players who's name pops up in the rumor mills and the mock drafts.  Depth will fluctuate depending on the information and the timing.  Our first quick look is University of Miami Defensive End Calais Campbell.

From SI.com

Calais Campbell, Miami: Campbell's struggles continue, as he capped a mediocre junior season with a poor combine. He measured just over 6-7 1/2 and 290 pounds, yet completed a measly 16 reps on the bench -- worst of any defensive linemen who participated. Campbell then ran his 40s near the 5.1 mark and looked winded at the end of the practice session.

Now, you won't see me talk too much about "draft stock", but I'm breathing a sigh of relief that Campbell is struggling a bit through the process.   I see far too many draft projections that show him available when the Jaguars pick at 26.  I talked to several scouts who gave foreboding advice about Campbell:

"He's physically talented, if you can get it out of him.  If, that is, you can get it out of him.

The 40 time, as far as I'm concerned is meaningless for a Defensive End, it's the 10 yard split that is telling, and I've not seen an official number yet.  Again, I'm not saying that any of these "measurable" mean anything, but the combined picture that is coming together is pretty weak for a first round pick.  What's bad for Campbell is that his Pro Day is this weekend, which means he'll have very little time to address whatever lowered his scores today.

Furthermore, I'm not saying that I'd be against the Jaguars in spending a pick on Campbell, only that as of what we know now, he's not worth a first round pick.  

My philosophy of the "silly season" that is the Combine-to-Draft period is pretty simple: The better the performance the more mature and dependable a prospect will be as a player.  Even though the individual processes of interviews, wonderlic tests, 40 yard dashes, and Pro Days seems miles away from the hits and moves of real football, the ability of a player to understand the process, to study for the workouts, to impress during  interviews and to step up and deliver under the extreme pressure of the events shows that they understand the magnitude of becoming an NFL player.  Yes, talent is incredibly important, yes players can exploit this and be "workout-wonders", but I'm not saying to make it a one shot thing.  The process paints a picture, the 40 is one part, the interviews another.  

My philosophy toward all this tells me that Campbell is struggling with the pressure.  He's had some extra pressure because his sack totals for last season were low (6) despite the fact that he was pretty damn disruptive and was doubled/tripled all season long.  When he had the chance to step up and get some momentum, he fell a little short at the Combine.  If he improve at his pro day, we can speculate that he's the type of guy who can recover from a bad game.  If he's consistently disappointing, we go somewhere else in the first round.

We'll be talking about Campbell more as we get closer to the Draft (Darft?), but I wanted to take a quick look at this prospect today with all the news of his "bad combine".

16 reps though, the best for a lineman was 37.  I like a speedy DE that can move, but you gotta have something to push the OT's out of the way.  We'll see in a few days if this was a fluke or not.

-Chris