Packers: De’Vondre Campbell has been a difference-maker

Green Bay Packers, De'Vondre Campbell (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images)
Green Bay Packers, De'Vondre Campbell (Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images) /

The Green Bay Packers have gone what seems like the better part of a decade without good, let alone adequate play from the inside linebacker position. It’s essentially been a revolving door of disappointment from a position the front office has failed to allocate any resources.

Then in June, GM Brian Gutekunst signed De’Vondre Campbell off the street to come in and compete for snaps at inside linebacker. He’d previously played four seasons with the Falcons and one other with the Cardinals. Over his career he’s recorded 462 tackles (303 solo), 25 tackles for a loss, 7.5 sacks, 13 QB hits, three interceptions, 19 passes defensed, six forced fumbles and a fumble recovery.

Campbell has been a starter every step along the way (70 starts in 75 games played) so anyone who’d observed the recent play from inside linebacker knew that even OK production from the position would likely lead to an ascension to the top of the depth chart.

After years of putting band-aids on bullet holes, the Packers may have just found an answer at the position. It’s not often you see a player improving as drastically as Campbell is six years into their career. Perhaps it could be the scheme he’s playing in, but through five games Campbell has been a difference maker – maybe even a Pro Bowler. Nobody saw this kind of impact coming when he was signed off the street, but it’s been a welcomed addition none the less.

De’Vondre Campbell has good size at (6-foot-3, 232 pounds) and runs well for the position. He’s been a great tackler and has been really solid in coverage. Campbell seems to be the kind of player that just always finds himself around the ball. De’Vondre has done a good job at the point of attack, and using his length to get off of blocks to continue his pursuit – which has been an issue with inside linebackers in the past.

De’Vondre Campbell through five weeks

  • Fifth in the NFL with 48 tackles
  • Two INTs
  • Three PBUs
  • One fumble recovery

The Packers have begun to rebuild their inside linebacker room with the addition of Campbell, finding UDFA Krys Barnes a year ago, and most recently by signing Jaylon Smith as a no-risk depth signing. This is by no means a world-beating group but it’s clearly a vast improvement over recent years and it’s in large part due to the play of defensive quarterback De’Vondre Campbell.

GM Brian Gutekunst and the front office already have their work cut out for them this off-season, facing a near $50 million salary cap deficit. However, Campbell has made a noticeable impact on the field and by all accounts is well received in the locker room.

This front office may be wise to consider a reasonable extension with Campbell in the off-season should he continue to play anything like he is right now.

Either way, the signing of De’Vondre Campbell has been a home run thus far because his impact for the Packers’ defense has been undeniable.