Is De’Vondre Campbell a Lock to Make the Team?

Will linebacker De'Vondre Campbell make the Packers roster?

If you thought linebacker De’Vondre Campbell might not make the Green Bay Packers’ 53-man roster, think again. In some cases, late free agent signings are a toss-up when it comes to whether they will make the final cut. The Green Bay’s latest acquisition reportedly agreed to a one-year deal worth $2 million, which all but assures he will make the team in August. Campbell’s deal also includes a $1 million signing bonus and four voidable years to help alleviate stress towards the salary cap.

According to Tom Silverstein of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Campbell is eligible for up to $500,000 in playing-time incentives.

Over the last four seasons, Campbell has never played fewer than 78 percent of the defensive snaps, making the extra half-million all the more likely. Campbell was a former fourth-round pick by the Atlanta Falcons in 2016 but spent the 2020 season playing for the Arizona Cardinals. He started all 16 games for Arizona, totaling 99 tackles, 2.0 sacks, three pass defenses, and a forced fumble.

Last year, Campbell played 880 snaps on defense and 76 snaps on special teams.

Campbell joins a Packers defense that lacked a veteran presence at inside linebacker following the release of Christian Kirksey. Campbell does have some familiarity with head coach Matt LaFleur after the two spent one season together in Atlanta.

“I used to talk to Matt every day,” said Campbell. “Coming here was a pretty easy decision because I already knew who he was. I know what kind of guy he is and what kind of guys he wants on his team.”

Green Bay was expected to lean on linebackers Krys Barnes and Kamal Martin, however, Campbell brings more experience than both players combined. Barnes and Martin were both rookies in 2020, and while they showed flashes, the Packers aren’t sure they can rely on each for a full season. Therefore, adding a veteran made a lot of sense.

Perhaps, the team expects a similar impact. Both Campbell and Kirksey are athletic linebackers with good size, however, Campbell has been much healthier.

He missed five games as a rookie but has played in every game since. Given the uncertainty surrounding the current linebacker group, Campbell provides good insurance and should able to compete for snaps right away.

As far as projecting which inside linebackers will be a part of the Packers' defense in 2021, it’s safe to include Campbell. When you consider his contract and experience, everything points to Campbell being on the final roster.

 

 

 

Brandon Carwile is a Packers writer who also enjoys watching and breaking down film. Follow him on Twitter @PackerScribe.

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7 points

Comments (40)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
Coldworld's picture

June 16, 2021 at 12:16 pm

His contract structure appears to say that he is, as do the comments from the coaches.

4 points
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KenEllis's picture

June 16, 2021 at 02:02 pm

Gutey loves him some veteran inside linebackers who have failed elsewhere like Antonio Morrison, BJ Goodson, and Christian Kirksey.

The current projected starters are a late 2020 draft pick in Martin and a guy who went undrafted in 2020 in Barnes and they both have injury/durability concerns.

The other options are Summers and Burks who can't play.

I'd say Campbell is every bit a lock to make the team as Gutey's favorite defensive linemen from Northwestern - Lancaster and Lowry.

-5 points
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jannes bjornson's picture

June 18, 2021 at 10:37 pm

A lot of jing for a dime LB.

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mnbadger's picture

June 16, 2021 at 12:27 pm

I hope he can bring some juice to the interior of the defense, especially in run support, but can't slouch against the pass. Attitude and professionalism will help cement his roster spot. GPG!

6 points
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PackerBacker77's picture

June 16, 2021 at 05:49 pm

His strong suit is against the pass not the run, so good luck helping out in the rungam

-2 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

June 17, 2021 at 12:08 pm

Backwards...Campbell is good against the run and is a solid tackler. His pass defense is his weakness. Completion rate to receivers he covers is pretty high.

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porupack's picture

June 16, 2021 at 12:46 pm

Can't quite digest the lack of expectations on young players, such as KMartin and KBarnes. These guys were successful in college, got through the great funneling process called the draft, and now have more than a year of paid intensive training...and we fret that they aren't ready yet? I believe you prepare people and expect them to succeed. This isn't saying it isn't prudent to go get a guy on a good deal to compete. Just mentioning...the perception that a second year linebacker just doesn't have enough experience, and they got to go find a guy with many more years to make it solid. It used to be expected that rookies were ready for the fire after spring and training camps. Low expectations leads to low success more often that we would like to believe. Again..I think its a good move to throw more resources at this perennial problem....but, I would like to expect Barnes & Martin act II is going to be solid.

7 points
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SpikeHyzer's picture

June 16, 2021 at 02:42 pm

I think they still expect them both to play a lot and be good. It never hurts to strengthen what was statistically one of the weakest position groups. Had to replace the roster spot. Burks and Summers certainly aren't the answer, since both had been around longer and got unseated by the rookies last year.

4 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 17, 2021 at 12:29 am

Kirksey played ahead of Martin at the end of the season when it counted, and deservedly so since Kirksey played will fairly well towards the end of the season and in the playoffs. GB limited Martin to roughly 12 snaps per game so they were only playing Martin in certain situations. There is no reason to think Martin is ready to be a complete ILB based on last season - just the hoped for second year jump.

Chandon Sullivan looked pretty good playing 350 snaps in 2019 with Tramon soaking up over 700. GB let Tramon walk and Sullivan looked very meh when he had to play the vast majority of downs (he played 729 snaps in 2020).

One can expect ups and downs from young players, and we can hope that Sullivan and the young ILBers learned lessons that they can put into practice in 2021. It is easy to fret over the prospect of Barnes, Martin, Summers (who has had several years for the light to come on - and who knows, it might still do so) and the execrable Burks as the team's ILBs for 2021.

Frankly, the ILB play in 2020 was bad. Bring in competition.

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

June 17, 2021 at 07:34 am

Martin was hit or miss last year. He just needs to settle down and learn balance. At the moment he is a splash play or busted assignment. The good news is that he has the ability to make plays, he just needs to improve decision making. He reminds me of Desmond Bishop in that respect

1 points
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YouAskedForThis's picture

June 17, 2021 at 11:36 am

Martin looked great in camp ...then had the significant knee injury. Came back and looked really good, but definitely always looking to make the splash play which gets him into trouble. Hopefully the coaching staff can get him to play under control cause he could be a good one.

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greengold's picture

June 16, 2021 at 01:27 pm

There's no question De'Vondre Campbell is a lock to make this team.

I'm happy with the value Gutekunst got in signing De'Vondre Campbell. Low cost, possibly high ROI. From what I've read, the thinking from some scouts is he is better than what we have had here in a while. The Cardinals signed him for $6M plus incentives that could have been $8.5M altogether only a year ago. Packers signed him for much less.

Campbell is a 3-down LB, one with great size, length speed and he has the ability to cover pretty well. He ranked 11th last year in yards allowed per coverage snap with 5.5, and his 65.9% completion rate ranked 13th in the NFL. Not bad at all. Barnes had 87.5% completion rate and 7.1 Y/Tgt.

According to PFF, in man coverage, he ranked #7 amongst all LBs in coverage with 52%. In zone he didn't do as well, ranking #53. (The numbers I've relayed per Bill Huber at SI).

Campbell might have been signed with an eye towards challenging Barnes as a starter, allowing the Packers to move away from Oren Burks. With Isaiah McDuffie and Ray Wilborn added to the competition, I think the Packers may realize a boost in productivity at ILB and on STs.

In 2019 Campbell ranked #1 in FF with 3 and #6 in INT with 2. Those are hustle numbers to me. I love seeing ILBs with FFs & TFL. The INTs are always a plus. Over the last two seasons, Campbell has 228 Tackles, 144 Solo, 13 TFL, 4 QB Hits, 4 Sacks, 2 INT, 8 PD, 4 FF, 1 FR.

I like Kamal Martin A LOT, and I think if he's paired with Campbell we could be in for a real treat.

10 points
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13TimeChamps's picture

June 16, 2021 at 02:08 pm

I think GB has moved away from Oren Burks a long time ago. Pretty much just a STer last year. Rarely got snaps at LB. Which is probably a good thing.

3 points
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Coldworld's picture

June 16, 2021 at 02:34 pm

They tried him at OLB in the Fackrell cover role. It was not successful. I was expecting him to be the cut when they brought in the veteran.

2 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 17, 2021 at 12:56 am

Be a little careful when using different stats to compare players. Campbell allowed a 73.2% completion rate, 9.6 yds/rec, and 7.1 yds/target in 2020. Barnes allowed 87.1% completion rate, 8.3 yds/rec and 7.3 yds/target. Barnes played both mike and will depending on the time of the season/Kirksey's health. Campbell played will almost exclusively with Jordan Hicks playing mike full-time. All stats PFR. I agree that Campbells stats are objectively better than Barnes'. Martin's numbers are 80% completion rate, whopping 12.8 yds/rec and 10.2 yds/target with a huge amount of yards after the catch. I also note that Martin was only targeted 5 times in 190 snaps, which means one of two things: he was not in coverage often or his coverage forced the QB to look elsewhere frequently. Martin did have a nice pressure rate of 3 pressures on 12 blitzes which certainly caught my eye last year, but the sample is small.

Campbell has played strong side LB in a 4-3 and will in a 3-4. Not sure if the Packers intend to try him at mike or will. In GB the mike is full time with the will getting a lot fewer snaps, but who knows if that will continue under Joe Barry.

4 points
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greengold's picture

June 17, 2021 at 08:01 am

You’re not kidding, man!

I’m being as positive as I can be with this ILB situation. I had zero idea who Martin was when we drafted him. Barnes? Out of nowhere. Summers just has short arms...

Martinez seemed short, slow and late, but, I liked him. Just thought his play was not great in hustle markers.

I wanted Eric Kendrick’s when Ted took Damarius Randall. Ugh.

1 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 17, 2021 at 08:56 am

So did I (as to Kendricks) but I would have drafted NT Malcon Brown, who has been a legit NFL player but never turned into the beast I thought he'd be. Randall was not a bad player; I think he got lost or caught up in things. I gather he didn't think much of someone, perhaps HHCD or the coordinator. Not sure why he was always looking around after he got toasted (which happens, after all), but his teammates tired of it, apparently.

The world is always throwing curves: had GB picked Brown like I wanted (I really wanted a trade down because I liked a bunch of guys including Eddie Goldman, McKinney, Donovan Smith, and Kendricks), then I suppose it is unlikely GB selects Clark in the next draft.

1 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

June 17, 2021 at 12:29 pm

I agree. He's pretty solid in the run game and is around the ball a lot. And stopping the run is greatly needed in the front 7...DC will bring that it seems. Good tackler.

In pass protection, he gets picked on and targeted.

According to Pro Football Reference:

"He has seen at least 56 passes come his way each of the past three seasons, allowing completion rates of 70 percent or more and a passer rating between 100 and 105 each year."

He's only had 19 passes defensed over his entire career.

0 points
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CoachDino's picture

June 16, 2021 at 02:57 pm

I completely understand the view that ILB has been a failure and the FA signings haven't helped. I don't agree with that opinion, though I can understand it.

Couple things stand out to me that formed my opinion.

1) Blake M - The highly rated tackler leaves and is replaced by Rookies and FA at 1/2 the cost or better and there is no drop off in performance.
2) ILB in a 3-4 D scheme is one of the least valued positions in the NFL/Defense due to its impact
3) Scarcity of Good to Greta ILB - Experts and stats point to maybe 5 total ILBs that grade out like that. So drafting nearly last and having little cap resources makes finding one near impossible. (name 5 stud 3-4 ILBS in the NFL currently)
4) BlaKe. BJ & Kirksey were all immediately signed by other teams for more money than the Packers paid them.

IMO the facts point to Gute being very shrewd in plugging up an issue of less priority in ILB than others (Bakh,Stokes,K Clarke, AJones, Myers, Gary, Savage, jenkins, JA, Z,Amos, Turner, Wagner, etc).

Where I see the eroor by Gute? Josh Jackson not working out forced the Kevin King resign this year where maybe the money could of been spent on KJ Wright

That is not saying that having a premier 3 down ILB wouldn't impact the D, of course it would but not nearly as much as the positions he has spent resources on before/instead of and even more so in the ROI of those resources spent..

4 points
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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

June 17, 2021 at 01:39 am

Kirksey signed for half of what GB paid him. His guaranteed money went from $4M to $500K. Morrison was out of football the year after he played for GB. Goodson got a nice raise from $720K to $2.4M. Goodson is a free agent at present. Martinez got a huge raise.

Campbell went from $4M guaranteed and $6M total with the chance to earn $8.5M with incentives to $1M guaranteed, $2M total (I can't find a source that indicates he has $500K in incentives).

We don't agree about the lack of a drop off from Martinez to Barnes/Kirksey. I thought there was a significant drop off.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

June 17, 2021 at 09:26 am

Kirksey played well but only after a late move from the Mike position. I don’t think Barnes was as different from Martinez as you do. Martinez got a lot of money and a better system fit. Barnes was a rookie who held up reasonably well. Given the difference in our system at least, I’m not sure Martinez was missed too much. He also couldn’t cover.

That said, I believe Pettine’s system became a nightmare for ILBs, especially the Mike. both for what he asked them to do and what he did with the D Line in front of them. It’s really hard to judge the players as a result. Barnes may be benefitting from a system that pulled anyone down to approximately the same level.

I’m looking to see how Barry manages the D line and ILB groups and looking for change. If it’s more of the same it seems likely the result will be similarly disappointing. If it is more of the same, Barry will almost certainly prove to be a mistake.

1 points
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greengold's picture

June 17, 2021 at 10:04 am

Yeah, my take on this was the DL was mismanaged under Pettine, as were the ILBs. We had gross underperformance from both Lowry and Lancaster for years. We also had gross underperformance from Martinez his last season here, and our ILB play was marginally better with Barnes and Martin.

I look at Barry as a very different DC, one who might have a better clue in how to get the most out of both units. Especially so at ILB. I recall Martinez discussing his use under Pettine after he signed with NYG. Said something to the effect there was ZERO instruction, and that his job was simply to go out there and make plays. Same must have been true then for both Barnes & Martin, in "wing it" mode.

Something tells me Barry will be much different there. I'm expecting improvements at both DL and ILB, and trust Matt LaFleur made his best choice in hiring Joe Barry.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

June 17, 2021 at 09:28 am

Duplicate deleted

0 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

June 17, 2021 at 12:35 pm

Martinez was missed in GB. He was not a speed demon but he had good pursuit and solid angles to the ball and you rarely saw him running behind the ball carrier in chase downs. Good instincts.

0 points
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Packers0808's picture

June 16, 2021 at 03:13 pm

He is on the team barring any season ending injury! Experience which he has a lot of goes a long ways in many ways in area of young players! Great signing!

2 points
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NoNonsense's picture

June 16, 2021 at 04:14 pm

The thing I noticed right away are the flowing dreadlocks he has, he looks a lot like Zadarius when in uniform so maybe they can use that to their advantage.

if we can line him and Zadarius up in the A gaps off the ball or on the LOS with Gary, Clark and Preston on the LOS, that will one hell of a ferocious pass rush unit. He looks like a really good Blitzer so putting him a position to blitz or drop back in coverage will keep teams from just keying on Z in those situations.

0 points
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dobber's picture

June 17, 2021 at 07:31 am

I don't think anyone will mistake one for the other standing side by side.

1 points
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TarynsEyes's picture

June 16, 2021 at 06:13 pm

When the couple you have failed to meet a grade of average and less, given the forgiveness the Packers exude, bringing in one who has earned a Grade C is just another piece of basement furniture hoping to be moved to the porch, and appears many have already placed him there.

-4 points
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LeotisHarris's picture

June 16, 2021 at 06:32 pm

When the dog has a purulent discharge from it's ear and is hungry, granted having been forsaken, albeit unknowingly, many posit said canine will continue to engage the streetlight at dusk, regardless of the nature of wishful thinking, and any willful semantics, noun-verb agreement, or permission from Major League Baseball.

2 points
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PearlyBakerBest's picture

June 16, 2021 at 08:21 pm

9/10. -1 point for using commas correctly.

1 points
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dobber's picture

June 17, 2021 at 07:32 am

All we are is dust in the wind, Dude...

0 points
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Doug_In_Sandpoint's picture

June 17, 2021 at 09:42 am

LH, my affection for you continues to grow. That’s not weird is it?

2 points
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greengold's picture

June 17, 2021 at 09:52 am

Nope. Likewise.

2 points
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Spock's picture

June 17, 2021 at 11:13 am

Thanks, L.H. for showing how to properly write. I've lost my decoder ring for Taryn's (Dare I say bizarre?) writing style. I recall someone asking her -and saying they honestly wanted to know- whether English was her native tongue! I, alas, now make multiple mistakes when commenting, but I do try to make my words at least comprehensible. :)

2 points
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Redrum81's picture

June 16, 2021 at 06:53 pm

With injuries hitting the team every training camp, this signing is a necessity. Ty Summers is jag while Barnes and Martin have a bit more athleticism. No big play sexy player but the Packers don’t value their ilbs the way the rest of the league does

2 points
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dobber's picture

June 17, 2021 at 07:37 am

Summers is a workout beast. His main issue appears to be instincts and processing...he's a downhill ILB. But athleticism isn't his problem.

1 points
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YouAskedForThis's picture

June 17, 2021 at 11:54 am

Yup. Plus he misses tackles like nobody's business.

1 points
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LambeauPlain's picture

June 17, 2021 at 12:42 pm

He first started to play LB after he got to college...before that he was a QB...and a pretty good one. That said, he was fairly productive as a college LB but I recall reading his missed tackles were an issue.

0 points
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Coldworld's picture

June 17, 2021 at 07:41 am

Summers is probably the most athletic of all of them.

3 points
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greengold's picture

June 17, 2021 at 01:17 pm

Yeah, there's no way Ty Summers is jag... Both he and Rashan Gary were the only two from the 2019 draft class with ELITE rankings in both SPARQ and RAS.

ELITE athleticism.

He's had some issues with recognition, not for lack of being well studied. He's a pure student of the game as much as Blake Martinez was, or any other. I do think he might have suffered greatly from Mike Pettine and his use or misuse of ILBs in his tenure.

I'm still pulling for him like I have since the day he was drafted, but, we have added players with a different physical profile, longer, with bigger tackle radius type ILBs. We all saw the tackles he made and missed. I'll continue to hope for the best for him. Great guy.

I really don't think Pettine gave him his best shot at earning playing time at ILB. Proof will be in TC/Preseason. I kid you not, he has the chance to surprise many here, including myself (I've found myself being dismissive of him of late with all the competition added). I wouldn't put it past him. If there is a coach who can get the most out of Ty Summers, it might be Joe Barry.

0 points
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