Panthers 2012 Draft Picks: Round 7 D.J. Campbell
Round 7 is where you fill roster holes. Round 7 used to be like the middle of the draft, back back in the day, but now, it’s the end of the selections. Round 7 you might find a gem or two, but I can’t think of many. You get your special teams guys, maybe a backup to a backup, maybe some headcase that you aren’t sure will workout. Round 7, is all but a throw away pick.
That said, from what I’ve read on D.J. Campbell out of Cal, he’s not much of a throwaway. Keeping it real though, he’s a 7th round pick, and as much as I’d like to be like the Panthers own media, I can’t be endlessly optimistic.
D.J. Campbell, as I said, went to California. Pac 10 football is pass-happy in a lot of ways, but they’ve put some defensive players in the league. DJ was a special teams specialist and back-up safety from what I understand, until he started in his junior year, tallying a total of 14 starts. I like a guy who comes up, not too terribly touted and just works in college and ends up being drafted. He’s not completely unknown, he was All-Pac 10 honorable mention as a senior, but his numbers and abilities don’t leap off the page at you.
The Panthers own website just has a sentence on him in their draft breakdown, saying he’s most likely to make it on the team via special teams. That’s obvious. A defensive player, with some athleticism, drafted late, making the team via special teams? Nah! You don’t say?! Well, I’ll be…. I want to know a bit more, so I’ve checked out the draft-sites and here’s the quoteables:
“Positives: Underrated safety with a developing game. Effectively diagnoses the action, quick up the field and displays a nice move to the throw in coverage. Displays an outstanding burst of closing and recovery speed, aggressively defends the run and wraps up tackling. Throws his body around the field to make plays. Shows good quickness.
Negatives: Marginal skills in coverage, all too often chasing opponents rather then making plays on the ball. Too quick up the field at times and gets caught out of position.
SI.com keeping it simple: Campbell is cerebral as he claims to be, but is unproven, has the ingredients but hasn’t put the meal on the table.
From the Observer: ”Campbell, the Panthers’ seventh-round pick Saturday, was a free safety at Cal – Rivera’s alma mater – and went to high school with two of Rivera’s nieces in Las Vegas.”
So, there’s nothing wrong with having connections. If it makes you feel more comfortable with a late round pick, by all means, Ronnie, pick away!
From the Cal football website: ”Posted a solid all-around performance at Cal’s 2012 Pro Day with 22 bench press reps of 225 pounds that would have tied for first among safeties at the 2012 NFL Combine, a 4.51 40-yard dash and 38-inch vertical leap that would have checked in second at the combine at his position, and a 10′ 7″ broad jump that would have tied for second.”
So, he didn’t get invited to what Mark Schlerith coined the “Underwear Olympics” in Indianapolis. Big deal. Dude’s measurables are comparable to the guys who did go. So, he’s there, physically. Mentally, he’s alright as well.
I try not to read into the deep picks too much, but I mean, you need some info on the guy right? Gotta know what to expect, if you want to be a fan, out of the deep picks as well as the higher round selections. Hell, a special teams player that lasts for years, makes tackles, gets the ball back on a short field, could change the fortunes in close games. If the guy can get on the field as a defensive contributor, out of the 7th round, all the better, and it looks like it’s not so far of an outside chance he might.
Final spin: He’s a 7th rounder, no big deal if he doesn’t work out, or even make the team, but this guy, in my optimistic perspective, has a shot. I like that he’s out of a power conference and got better every year, and knows, likely that he’s got to make his impression on special teams, which happens to be an area where the Panthers could use some help. Connections, checking out other players on his team on film, and pure luck, got this dude selected to be in a Panthers uniform come training camp. Let’s see if he shows up and shows out enough to make the team, then maybe he can make an impact.