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ESPN Insider Breakdown of Bruce Campbell


Take the jump for the breakdown.  I really like his point on not overvaluing one facet of a position.  I had been hoping he would drop to us.

One of the traps that football personnel evaluators have to constantly remain vigilant against is overvaluing one facet of a position; this often happens, for example, with quarterbacks and arm strength. As important as velocity is for a passer, it is rather meaningless unless it is combined with accuracy. Passing power can be so alluring that it is easy to give it more credence than it deserves if one isn't careful.

 

 

That mindset also comes into play for left tackles and pass blocking in large part because of "The Blind Side" (first as a book, then as a movie); the public's perception of pass blocking is now at the loftiest of heights.

 

 

As important as protecting the passer is for the left tackle position, two moves made by NFL teams the past two seasons show that professional talent evaluators still understand the value of run blocking at that position.

 

 

The first was when the Miami Dolphins drafted Michigan left tackle Jake Long as the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft. Long was a good pass blocker -- but he was an elite run blocker, and it was the combination of these traits (not just his ability to protect the corner of the offensive line) that moved him to the top slot in the selection process.

 

 

The second was when the Philadelphia Eagles traded for Buffalo left tackle Jason Peters this past offseason. According to the metrics I compiled for Scientific Football 2009, Peters was coming off of a season where he was tied for last place with Houston's Duane Brown for most sacks allowed among left tackles.

 

 

It may have seemed odd for the Eagles to be willing to part with a first and fourth round draft pick for someone coming off of a pass blocking season like that, but a look at the run metrics shows why Philly wanted Peters. Peters' 90.9% Point of Attack (POA) run block win percentage was the 2nd highest among left tackles and 8th best among all offensive linemen. The Eagles obviously valued his ability to keep Donovan McNabb from getting hit but they also wanted his help in solving their short-yardage running woes and that was likely the clincher in closing the deal.

 

 

I bring all of this up because of what the metrics said about Maryland left tackle Bruce Campbell (currently listed as the No. 12 pick on Todd McShay's Mock Draft 1.0). Let's start with his pass blocking.

 

 

 

Campbell allowed three splash plays (defined as when a defender does something to negatively impact a passing play) in the five Terrapin games I broke down (at California, vs. Clemson, vs. Virginia, at Florida State and vs. Boston College).

 

 

As noted in the Trent Williams Draft Lab (read that here), the best professional pass rushers allow four or fewer splash plays in a season -- so this isn't a dominant number. Having said that, it does compare favorably to Williams' splash play totals (four in five games) and was much better than the number tallied in Anthony Davis' Draft Lab (eight splash plays in five games).

 

 

Going on those numbers alone, I would have considered Campbell a solid professional left tackle prospect, but his stock shot up considerably when reviewing the run metric totals. Campbell was at the Point of Attack (POA) of a running play 38 times and won 35 of his blocks. That equates to a 92.1% POA win percentage, which, as detailed in the Peters analysis, would be an elite number in the NFL. In addition, Campbell received double team blocking help on only 11 of those plays, so his one-on-one POA win percentage was a superb 88.9%.

 

 

The scouting eye notes on Campbell's run blocking weren't quite as good as numbers, but they were still almost entirely positive. One bright spot was that he was used as a pulling tackle quite often, which is an underrated skill that many NFL teams would take advantage of. His biggest issue is that he didn't consistently finish his blocks. That would be a problem if it were due to a lack of effort, but in Campbell's case it was inconsistent technique, so it is something that should be able to be coached out of him.

 

 

From a pass blocking viewpoint, the major scouting eye concern is that Campbell received a lot of help from other blockers; this made me look back at the numbers, which showed Campbell received some kind of assistance from another blocker on 31 out of 120 dropback pass plays. That is a bit higher than one would expect from an elite pass blocker, but it is probably more due to Maryland's heavy use of zone blocking and facing two teams with 3-4 schemes than it is a sign that Campbell has blocking issues.

 

The Football Scientist Lab Result: If I were to grade the three left tackles reviewed thus far in the Draft Lab series, I would rate Campbell No. 1, Davis No. 2 and Williams No. 3. I plan to focus on Oklahoma State Cowboys OT Russell Okung in an upcoming edition as well. Campbell is just as -- if not more -- adept at guarding the blindside as the other two and there is every reason to think he could develop into a dominant NFL run blocker. That doesn't seem to be the consensus perception of his skills and that disparity means that he receives a TFS seal of approval.

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