The New York Jets continued to beef up in the trenches with the selection of William Campbell, a highly touted prospect coming out of high school who never quite lived up to the billing during his time at Michigan. He didn't win a starting job on the defensive line until his senior season, but Campbell has the makings of a player who could wind up being a better pro than a college player.
He is listed as defensive tackle, but it appears that the Jets intend to convert him to the offensive side of the ball at the guard position.
Such a move would not be unprecedented—longtime Jets starter Brandon Moore, who went undrafted as a defensive tackle, made the conversion to the offensive side with much success. While Campbell never quite panned out as a game-changing defensive tackle, his sheer size (6'5", 305 pounds) gives the Jets a raw prospect they can develop into being a high-end starter.
Interesting… Jets take Michigan DT William Campbell, who Mayock thinks could be an OT. So does Charles Davis— Ian Rapoport (@RapSheet) April 27, 2013
Playing as an interior defensive tackle at Michigan, Campbell spent most of his time eating up double-teams and allowing other players to make plays around him. He has quicker feet than you would expect for a 300-pound man.
Where Campbell falls short is his inability to release his hands after being engaged. This is a problem for defensive tackles who need to get off blocks and make plays, but for offensive linemen, their goal is to stay engaged with defenders, as shown below:
Making a move to the offensive line would essentially erase the need for Campbell to work on the weakest aspect of his game.
Campbell is a large man, but that does not mean he cannot play at the next level. He is fast off the ball and has enough athleticism and quickness to match up well with some of the quicker defensive tackles.
However, Campbell does have a tendency to stay high, especially when he starts to tire. A player of his size and quickness should be able to get more leverage, so working on his ability to anchor will be a priority.
Assuming Campbell does make the expected move to the offensive side of the ball, the Jets' approach to the guard position has been aggressive, to put it lightly. In addition to veterans Willie Colon, Vladimir Ducasse and Stephen Peterson, the Jets added three rookies in Brian Winters, Oday Aboushi and now William Campbell, who will all have have a chance to compete for two wide-open positions at guard.
Campbell, however, will be at an immediate disadvantage in the competition, as he will be making the transition to not only a new position but to a completely different side of the ball. Winters and Aboushi will be changing positions as well, but they at least know the basic techniques of playing on the offensive line.
Of course, there is the bonus that if the Jets need emergency depth at defensive tackle, Campbell could perhaps save a roster spot as a two-way player. Given how much time Sione Pouha and Kenrick Ellis missed last season, having depth at the position is a high priority in 2013.
No matter how you look at it, the fact that the Jets spent three consecutive picks on (projected) guard prospects shows that they are committed to upgrading the interior of their offensive line.