Let us start off with acknowledging that Aaron Kampman is a very good player. Notice I said good? Not great, not outstanding, not even the best player for the defense.
A solid producer for the Green Bay Packers for the past couple of year, but in my eyes, overrated in terms of ability.
Kampman can really be described in one word: hustle. He never quits on a play and refuses to believe that he can not get to the quarterback; his hustle truly makes him a good player.
And that is what any coach would want from his players, just look at those players who have the talent but don’t give their best (no names should really be required here; we all know who they are).
Remembering from my old football days, my coach told me, “Give the QB at least five seconds to get rid of the ball.” Kampman makes plays, yet a lot of them come after those five seconds or on his second chances.
Perhaps my biggest observation is that when he is not in on the play, he is not part of the play, meaning that he does not consistently get to the QB. Most of his plays I am willing to give a lot of the credit to the defensive backs.
Still, this is what makes him a good player—he plays his hardest. Some games he is there, others he is invisible. Yes, Kampman is a good hustle player, and he was able to get away with that in his old 4-3 system, but now he could possibly be exposed in the 3-4 system that leans heavily on athletic linebackers; his new position.
Some people believe that outside linebacker will benefit Kampman in terms of sack production. From his stand up position, he will not blitz on every down and he will be able to add creativity to his defensive moves instead of his traditional bull through you move.
But he is not made for the position.
Look at last years sack leader: DeMarcus Ware 6'4", 262 pounds, a prototypical outside linebacker made for the 3-4. His combine results—4.56 in 40-yard dash, and could bench press 430 pounds.
Big and FAST.
2008 second place sack leader was also an outside linebacker: Joey Porter 6'3", 255 pounds, a slightly SMALLER backer then Ware, but still effective nontheless. His 40 time was at 4.68, and he benched 225 27 times.
Both guys, athletic, fast, strong and exactly what you want for an OLB in a 3-4 defense.
Kampman happens to be close to Ware in terms of size at 6'4", 265 pounds, they are almost identical statistically. Yet, I’m sure we can all agree that Kampman is not built the same as Ware. Now, here is the kicker. Kampman’s 40 time...4.87, his max bench 420, big, but not fast.
Speed kills in the NFL.
These statistics are not the current player’s ability, but they are important still. Of course, he may have improved in all areas, but I know that it is easier to gain muscle then speed, and speed is what Kampman lacks.
Still, let's be honest: There is more to a good player then his test time and bench press, knowledge, quickness, etc. all factor in. But, Kampman is not as quick as either of the two named players, although his smarts and knowledge may be, perhaps, greater.
Once again I believe that Kampman can be a good player, but not a great one, the only difference from his last position is that he has no chance of developing into a great player from his new spot.