De’Vondre Campbell finally broke out during the 2019 season. There was one superstar who was directly affected, will there be another on his new team?
Many hoped that De’Vondre Campbell would be the linebacker the Falcons needed to pair with Deion Jones to form an elite IDP linebacker duo. To the dismay of many who drafted Campbell, he did not pan out exactly how IDP enthusiasts had hoped. Campbell was a serviceable linebacker for BYE weeks but was a weekly liability. Then came the 2019 season where Campbell was actually a fantasy stud. unfortunately, this took a toll on the Falcons other star linebacker’s production. Campbell has since signed with the Cardinals in free agency this offseason. He will look to build off of his 2019 season. Will this have an effect on the other linebackers in Arizona? Let’s take a look at the situation.
De’Vondre Campbell 2016-2019
Stats: 363 tackles (234 solo), 18 tackles for a loss, 5.5 sacks, 16 passes defended, 3 interceptions, 5 forced fumbles, 1 fumble recovery.
De’Vondre Campbell was drafted out of Minnesota to be a fellow starter next to Deion Jones. Needless to say, he fizzled during his rookie season playing in 11 games starting 10 of them but averaged only 4.36 tackles per game. The Falcons saw enough though and granted him the starter for his sophomore season in the league where he started all 16 games. Though he started all 16 games he was only able to accumulate 92 total tackles with only 61 of those as solo tackles. To boot there was not much else he added in the stat lines coming up with 2 sacks and only 4 passes defended.
In 2018 Campbell was supposed to be a stud as fellow inside linebacker Deion Jones missed 10 games after breaking his leg. Still, Campbell underachieved only coming up with 94 total tackles with 63 solo and virtually nothing else to his stat line except for 1.5 sacks. He added zero passes defended and zero interceptions.
Something seemed to finally click in the head of De’Vondre Campbell for the 2019 season. He reached career highs in sacks, tackles, tackles for a loss and interceptions. Campbell totaled 129 tackles with 75 solo, 6 tackles for a loss, 5 passes defended, 2 interceptions, 3 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. Campbell was making plays all over the field and looked like a different player in all aspects. Watch the beautiful play he makes here in coverage:
De'Vondre Campbell tips it, Damontae Kazee picks it pic.twitter.com/kHPxGZeY1N
— Carlton (@SlopingGiraffe) December 8, 2019
Then there was this play here, Campbell is used as a blitzer coming up with the sack:
Never understood why the coaching staff doesn't use De'Vondre Campbell as a blitzer more often. He's a big, powerful linebacker with long arms. More times than not, running backs aren't going to stop him. McCaffrey tries to go high on him and pays the price. pic.twitter.com/yyGmjLKMxU
— Allen Strk (@Allen_Strk) December 11, 2019
Now, this was all great for De’Vondre Campbell owners, it had an adverse effect on Deion Jones owners.
The Affect On Deion Jones
Deion Jones has been regarded as one of the best inside linebackers in the NFL. Jones and Campbell were drafted in the same draft but Jones vastly outproduced Campbell. During their rookie season, Jones started 13 of the 15 games he played in accumulating 108 tackles, 60 more than Campbell while also tacking on 11 passes defended, 3 interceptions and two pick-sixes.
During their second season together Deion Jones had a huge season. He accumulated 138 tackles, 46 more than Campbell while adding 10 tackles for a loss, 10 passes defended and 3 interceptions becoming one of the top IDP linebackers in the league. Unfortunately for Jones, he missed a chunk of games in 2018 due to a broken leg. Campbell still underwhelmed as a starter.
In 2019 both linebackers came into the season healthy and it was a different story. Campbell showed to be the playmaker during the season while Deion Jones more or less ran the defense as the general. Jones only had 110 tackles to go along with a career-low 5 passes defended, a number matched by Campbell and also a career-low in interceptions with 1. Campbell was able to come up with 2 interceptions surpassing Deion Jones. Campbell also added two sacks to the zero totaled from Jones. Needless to say, Campbell seemed to suck the IDP production out of Jones once he finally reached his potential.
De’Vondre Campbell Affect on Arizona Linebackers
During free agency for 2019, the Arizona Cardinals signed highly productive but often injured Jordan Hicks away from the Eagles. Hicks had a huge season during his first stint with the Cardinals becoming a top 3 IDP option overall. He posted 150 tackles (93 solo), 11 tackles for a loss, 1.5 sacks, 6 passes defended, 3 interceptions, 2 forced fumbles, and a fumble recovery. Hicks reached career highs in three major categories while making plays like this all over the field:
Welcome to Arizona, Jordan Hicks pic.twitter.com/N5X8oXnsu9
— 12 SPORTS (@12SportsAZ) August 9, 2019
Hicks did this without a true running mate in the center of the field for the Cardinals. The season started with a trial of Haason Reddick which again was a failure and he lost his job to Joe Walker after just 5 games. Even then Joe Walker still had only 65 total tackles in 11 starts and 16 games overall.
De’Vondre Campbell just signed a 1 year $8.5 million contract on a prove-it deal with the Cardinals. Essentially what they just did was put Campbell into another contract year. One like the career year he just had in 2019 where he sucked the value out of Deion Jones. Historically players produce at their highest level when in a contract year. For Jordan Hicks owners, this could prove costly for their expectations going into 2020 hoping for a repeat of 2019.
De’Vondre Campbell had a monster year during his contract year with the Falcons, leaving Deion Jones owners angry and frustrated. In free agency Campbell signed a 1 year prove-it deal with the Cardinals. The Cardinals are hoping to get a similar season out of Campbell as he fights for a long term contract. Hicks owners need to lower their expectations and possibly brace for a vast dip in production from their ace. He is likely to play a similar role that Jones did in 2019 running the defense while Campbell stole the stats. Anybody in redraft formats, draft Hicks with caution and do not be surprised if his production comes back down.
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