In honor of De’Vondre Campbell’s birthday, it is only fitting that we discuss his versatility on the Atlanta Falcons defense. When discussing the defensive unit the first names we hear are Vic Beasley, Deion Jones, Keanu Neal, and Desmond Trufant. All are very talented and deserve the recognition but we can’t be quick to forget about Campbell.
Last season the Falcons finished in the top 10 in scoring defense and total defense for the first time since 1998. The same defense is returning nine of 11 starters from last season, and they all remain under the age of 30.
De’Vondre Campbell has not been shy about claiming them as a top-five defense “I think last year was just a glimpse of how good we could really be… I definitely think we can be a top-five defense” said Campbell during an interview in minicamp. Football is the ultimate team sport and their ultimate goal is to be “The best team”.
Why He Stands Out
Campbell, who is going into year three has shown versatility. In year two he spent a good amount of time as an edge rusher and found ways to be productive when doing so. Dan Quinn has preached about finding ways to put the best players on the field. Since Atlanta plays a lot of nickel, Cambell would lose playing time but Quinn values his abilities. The best thing about Cambell is he can cover opposing tight ends, rush the passer, and stop the run. In 2017, Cambell had 92 tackles which was third on the team only behind Deion Jones and Keanu Neal.
De’Vondre Campbell mic’d up week 10 against Dallas 2017.
In Campbell’s first year as an edge rusher, he managed to get to the quarterback twice and had four tackles for loss, alongside numerous hurried throws. We could have potentially seen more of Campbell rushing the passer had rookie Duke Riley been slightly more productive and avoided injury. The Falcons have the players to show multiple different looks on defense this season, including three safety packages with new acquisition Ron Parker. The added talent level allows one of the Falcons most athletic players on the team to see multiple different looks.
Campbell has the potential to be the teams defensive player of the year. We may not see the flashy sack numbers or the highlight interceptions, but we will see consistency. The Falcons are better than they have ever been and Campbell, in my opinion, is at the forefront of the defense. He is long, athletic, and has a strong motor. Putting him alongside Deion Jones with the linebackers or sending him at the quarterback with Vic Beasley, we could see a lot of 59 this season.