Sixth Round: 178th Pick
William Campbell was one of the most highly-touted recruits coming out of high school, but he failed to live up to such lofty expectations at Michigan. He did not seize a starting job until his senior season (in which he lost 30 pounds) and finished his collegiate career with three sacks.
However, Campbell may be an example of a humbled player who has a chance to perform better in the professional ranks than in a college system. Let's break down what kind of value Campbell would provide to an NFL team.
+ Great size, arm length
+ Quick feet.
+ Eats up double-teams.
+ Could be a better pro than college player.
- Does not anchor well.
- Lack of production—took four years to become a starter, despite being a highly-touted recruit.
- Poor hand use.
- Questionable motor.
Standing at 6'5", 311 pounds while toting 33.5" arms, Campbell certainly looks the part as an NFL defensive tackle.
Campbell lost 30 pounds in preparation for his senior season, giving him a much more well-rounded build. He has quicker-than-expected feet combined with enough strength to command double-teams. The issues for Campbell during his time at Michigan stem more from his inability to translate his physical attributes into on-field production.
Campbell was sentenced to probation in a "hood-sliding case" last summer, in which he drunkenly slid across a car hood, predictably causing damage.
Chantel Jennings @ChantelJennings
In Will Campbell sentencing judge asked, "Have you taken a physics class? Do you know what happens when 308 lbs slides across thin metal?"7/27/2012, 6:58:04 PM
More relevant is the fact that Campbell, a former four-star recruit, took four years to even be considered for a starting role on Michigan's defensive line. One encouraging sign for Campbell is how he lost 30 pounds before the season to help him earn a starting job.
Campbell spend the vast majority of his time at defensive tackle, playing a variety of gap assignments. He was often asked to "two-gap", or take on double teams because of his combination of size and strength, but he had his chance to penetrate in a "one-gap" system as well.
Campbell had limited chances to rush the passer in one-on-one situations, but he rarely capitalized on the opportunity. He flashes quickness and has the strength to match up with NFL offensive lineman, but he struggles with his technique, leverage and timing.
In this play, Campbell's fellow defensive tackle eats up the double-team, giving him a one-on-one situation. He has ample time to apply pressure with good coverage behind him, but the right guard is able to stop him in his tracks. Campbell does nothing to collapse the pocket and give A.J. McCarron less room to operate, allowing him to scramble for big yardage.
Notice how little leverage Campbell is able to get; he is standing straight up with his hands tangled up.
This is an example of a complete lack of technique, as Campbell needs to learn how to get lower and use leverage. He also needs to get better with his hand usage to avoid getting tangled up in a hand battle.
Against the Run
Campbell's physical tools would suggest that he would be a much better run defender than he shows, but his inability to get low and control offensive lineman hurt him in this area as well. He struggles to get off blocks and make tackles near the line of scrimmage.
However, Campbell is useful for eating up double-teams and allowing his teammates to flow to the ball and make plays. Again, he will need to get better in his weight transfer and balance, but at least at the collegiate level, his sheer size and quickness was enough of a threat to draw plenty of double-teams.
He does flash raw strength and is able to knock back blockers because of his sheer size advantage. He moves naturally for a man of his size, and the weight he lost prior to his senior season clearly made a difference in his motor chasing down plays.
Still, like all areas of his game, William is a work-in-progress that will require development before he is able to play a significant role on an NFL defense.
When given a clear path to the football, Campbell is usually able to wrap up. However, Campbell rarely finds himself in a position to do so.
Campbell's issues in his tackling are not in his actual technique in bringing down a ball-carrier. He struggles to disengage blocks, allowing runners to get to the second level and putting more pressure on linebackers.
Use of Hands
Outside of learning how to use leverage, this is one area in which William needs the most work. Too often he cannot disengage from defenders in the run game. He does not "press" and release linemen, despite having long arms.
This is a coachable aspect of the game, but Campbell is still an underachieving player in this aspect.
Scheme Versatility/Future Role
Because of his technical issues, Campbell is a developmental prospect that will be drafted based on his size and quickness combination.
Based on what he has shown on tape, Campbell could be a solid fit in any two-gap scheme as either a 3-technique or a 5-technique, coming off the field on passing downs. If you need a guy to push guys around and draw blockers, Campbell could at least do that before he is developed into a more well-rounded player.
Like the new article format? Send us feedback!