“Classic Calculated Gamble” On Campbell

March 29th, 2018

Hanging at the NFL Owners meetings yesterday following Roger Goodell’s news conference, Joe will admit to covertly hunting NFL general managers and coaches checking out of the swanky Ritz-Carlton hotel in Orlando.


Joe found a couple, and one was very happy to chat.

The subject was cornerbacks, since it appears the Bucs are a lock to draft one with one of their first three picks next month, and Joe asked about Penn State cornerback Christian Campbell.

Joe’s been studying this guy for three reasons:

  1. He’s a big, super-athletic corner (6-1, 193 pounds) and the Bucs don’t have one.
  2. He’s from Penn State and a native of Alabama. That’s a combination that fits Jason Licht’s draft history well.
  3. He’s a mature player who turns 23 in November, and Joe would prefer Bucs’ defensive backs coaches aren’t pressed to put in a ton of development work on a super-young rookie.

Campbell largely is considered a second- or third-round pick and the GM Joe talked to agreed, though he said Campbell appears to translate to the NFL better than most corners in the draft and he looks NFL-ready, “so he could easily go early second round.” The GM told Joe that Campbell “is a classic calculated gamble” because “he wasn’t a special college player, good and steady but not great.”

Campbell made headlines this winter after performing very well in Senior Bowl practices and then bailing on the game because he didn’t want to get hurt.

As regular readers here know, Joe is very leery of the Bucs drafting a cornerback out of need and then hoping to develop him on the fly. The track record of this coaching staff with Bucs corners is not good.

But Campbell might be the best cornerback fit out there, if the Bucs go that direction after using their No. 7 overall pick on one of the big three non-quarterbacks that might fall to them there: guard Quenton Nelson, defensive end Bradley Chubb or running back Saquon Barkley.

58 Responses to ““Classic Calculated Gamble” On Campbell”

  1. BetterBuccinBelieveIt Says:

    Didn’t know of him prior to this, yeah worth a look, maybe not till the late 2nd though possibly trading down.

    Go Bucs!

  2. Dewey Selmon Says:

    And he practiced against Hamilton and Godwin (2 years ago). Someone is going to fall to us on day 3.

  3. StPeteBucsFan Says:

    I did not have a problem with Campbell skipping the Bowl game. PSU owes him a lot more than he owes them. The Universities always get the better of a bargain where professional players are forced by the system to play basically for free. And please spare me the value of their education…if that was the critical factor Harvard would be the best team in the land not Alabama.

    If it had been a final four bowl I might feel differently, both because of the increased importance of the game but also because the player can reap a large amount of publicity at the final four games and if they make the National Championship…they’re ahead of the game.

  4. MadMax Says:

    Nice find joe!

  5. josstang Says:

    lets wait until the 5th round and get another garbage player that will be cut or traded within a few years.

    We need a quality corner now, not another work in progress. take james from fla. state, hes the best out there and should be available at #7

  6. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Never heard of him. Most sites have him ranked as a late round prospect. Highest I can see is R3/R4.

  7. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    Joe, not really getting your logic here. Your main issue with drafting a corner early is that you don’t trust the coaching staff to develop him.

    So i’m having trouble understanding why you feel drafting a guy who, to quote your source “wasn’t a special college player” will be a more successful solution than drafting a guy who was a special college player.

    Won’t this guy need to be developed more so than someone who excelled at the collegiate level?

    Just my 2 cents worth.

  8. Pickgrin Says:

    Walter Football has him projected as a day 3 guy – somewhere in Rounds 3>5.

  9. Lord Cornelius Says:

    I do like what I’m reading on him.

    Also intrigued by Quinton Meeks if we’re trying to get a bigger outside CB.

    Another round 4 type guy.

    6’2 200+ lbs. His dad has NFL coaching experience. Physical player but was never flagged. 15 pass break-ups and 5 interceptions last 2 years. 39″ vert and solid athleticism.

    Would love Meeks at the top of R4. Not sure why he isn’t rated higher. I think they think he’s a bit stiff / not fast / not fluid but he ran a 4.49 40 and had the same 3 cone as Hughes/Alexander

    I could live with

    R1-Nelson OG
    R2-Michel/Chubb/Ronald Jones II/Guice – RB
    R4-Meeks CB
    R5-BPA DT
    R6-Ade Aruda DE
    R7-another RB or S

    Meeks sounds like a better/faster version of McFadden from FSU

  10. Hawaiian Buc Says:

    Man I love how couch fans really pretend to know who is going to be good and who is going to be garbage in the NFL. So let me get this straight – you are capable of doing the job that most NFL GM’s can’t do, all without any inside info, or any coach’s film? Wow, how amazing!

    Look, we all have our opinions. Often times our opinions are right. But it’s very convenient how we forget how many times we were wrong. I thought Trent Richardson would be the next Adrian Peterson. But guess what, so did most GM’s. It’s hard, almost impossible, to judge talent. For you to be so full of yourself to think you are actually skilled in talent evaluation in any way whatsoever is just plain comical.

  11. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    Drafniks – Give me your thoughts on this kid

    Siran Neal DB Jacksonville State

  12. Pa Privateer Says:

    I watched him every weekend. Solid player. His one knock is that he isn’t the fastest CB our there, but he is big and understands how to use his size as an advantage. I would love to get him. He is a very solid and safe prospect.

    Trade down with #7 and use an extra pick to get him.

  13. BucFanFromOhio Says:

    josstang Says:
    March 29th, 2018 at 12:57 pm

    We need a quality corner now, not another work in progress. take james from fla. state, hes the best out there and should be available at #7

    Unfortunately, James is not a corner.

  14. ChanEpic Says:

    So big but slow and wasn’t “special” in college. So, I’m guessing he wont be lining up to stop ‘Lil Secretariat J. Jones in the ATL? Why bother? We need big AND Speedy, please see 2017 footage of bucs trying to cover that guy for more evidence.

  15. Bucsfanman Says:

    LUV- Looks like a safety more than anything, good hitter/tackler. He stands out among the competitors. Could be a nice later round pick, bolster the safety position.
    I do NOT subscribe to the drafting of Fitz or James at #7.

  16. Ramblingman Says:

    StPeteBucsFan –

    Understand your comments, however, it was the Senior Bowl the article references. He aggravated an injury during practice and decided not to play and risk further damage.

  17. Destinjohnny Says:

    Godwin would know how good he is…

  18. martinni Says:

    Hawaiian Buc:

    Whoa, you read my mind. Every year before, during, and after the draft I am in a constant state of hysteria. Even the heads that make the big bucks are totally wrong 95% of the time. Yet they are all so serious about their research and analysis. Predicting the draft is like hitting a 10 digit lotto tickets 10 times in a row. It’s like predicting the number of teeth an alien has on an undiscovered planet. Watch it, enjoy it, but don’t waist your life trying to predict it’s outcome.

  19. BucDan Says:


    I’m not a drafnik but that video of Neal outta JSU was sweet.

    -Looks like he has size (confirmed at 6’1″ 205 lb)
    -Showed versatility and athleticism with a nose for the football
    -AND OH MAN THAT ATTITUDE! We need that attitude on defense badly! The stare ’em down after every hit “I dare you to get up and make I contact with me because you KNOW you don’t want another F****** one!” attitude.

    Not sure where he fits in the rounds but wouldn’t mind having him on the field wearing pewter and red.

  20. BucDan Says:

    eye* contact
    – post lunch non editorial

  21. Lord Cornelius Says:


    Honestly I think evaluating CB/S is the hardest thing for me to personally figure out. I think this is one position where watching them in drills at the combine is pretty useful – to see how fluid they are compared to one another – but even then that is just shorts workouts.

    On tape you can just see if a guy has good break speed / can stay with WRs / is a big hitter. But we don’t know exactly what they’re being asked to do in terms of defensive scheme – at least I don’t. And small school guys should look a lot faster/dominant than everyone around them but it’s hard to project that to NFL WRs.

    With DL/OL it’s a lot easier to just see what technique a guy has and how he man handles other men around himself in order to evaluate.

    RB/WR/TE is easy as well. Can a guy make moves? Does he catch with hands or body? How is his hand-eye tracking down the field and how does he attack his routes? How well does the RB pass pro? How well does the TE hold his blocks? Those are easier determinations for me than trying to break down a CB.

    So basically I duno man lol. I’ll leave CB/S to the draft experts in terms of me having any sort of strong opinion. I feel more confident in my opinions on all the other positions

  22. LocalJoker Says:

    This guy in the 5th or 6th round is better. CB Michael Joseph/Dubuque 6-1 190 4.49. See his tape!

  23. TheDailyCoroner Says:

    Are you assuming Barkley, Chub and Nelson are off the Board?

  24. Gobucs Says:

    Lmao derwin James at 7?

    Ok fsu fans shut up now.

    I swear FSU fans think every single player on the roster should be drafted in the top 10.

    My god what homers

  25. Lord Cornelius Says:

    “I swear FSU fans think every single player on the roster should be drafted in the top 10.

    My god what homers”

    He’s in most people’s top 10 big boards. I’ve seen him as a top 5 player on many big boards. Guess they’re all FSU homers huh?

  26. Gobucs Says:

    ^^^ lol ok.

  27. Gobucs Says:

    Derwin James = BUST!!!

  28. Lord Cornelius Says:

    Derwin James’ ranking by various sites:

    CBS – #2 overall player
    Draftek – #10 overall player
    Walterfootball – #5 overall player
    Bleacher Report Matt Miller – #9 overall player
    Sports Illustrated – #16 overall player
    Draftwire – #16 overall player
    PFF – #4 overall player

    Didn’t realize so many FSU alumni are writing for all these publications

  29. Bucsfanman Says:

    LC- I just can’t wrap my head around a safety at #7 that isn’t Ed Reed or Troy Palomalu caliber.
    My wife’s Hokie (VT) alum, so I’m a Hokie. There is no comparison between the level of competition in the SEC compared to the ACC, Clemson aside. James does not TRANSCEND the talent in the ACC and Fitzpatrick does not either in the SEC.
    I mean forget the fact that corner is a much bigger need and no corner in this draft is a #7.
    They’re talented, but #7 talented? Not IMO.

  30. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    He’s not terrible. This highlight video repeats some things though.

  31. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    I’m fine with taking a DT, RB, CB or S in the first and second rounds.

    A trade down to pick up an extra second would be nice though.

  32. Gobucs Says:

    Absolutely no way Derwin James is worthy of a number 7 pick.


    No way that happens.

    Well this is the Bucs and they’ve done worse so wouldn’t surprise me.

  33. cgmaster Says:

    oh look Go bucs another Nole hater. Us Noles fans don’t think every player is a top ten pick. That’s a narrative by the anti nole tools such as yourself. The only three Noles ,noles fans have clamored for is Jameis, Jalen Rasmey and Dalvin cook, and all three have proven worth it outside of Dalvin getting hurt. SO please stop. Derwin is hands down a top 10 pick and when he is picked in the top ten, I”ll be back here to laugh at you. Must be a Gaytor fan.

  34. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Wow, Joe. You really hit on one here.

    Seriously. I want this guy!

  35. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Christian Campbell Per NFL Draft Tracker

    Good height with long arms that dangle by his side. Uses length to punch and stabilize himself when beaten by inside release. Drapes himself over slants and short routes and constricts throwing windows. Will flash some short area recovery with footwork. Runs with closing burst when chasing crossing routes. Adequate lateral change of direction.

    Has thin frame and below average play strength. Lacks aggression in run support and will default to arm tackles in open field. Has noticeable stall in acceleration from transitions. Needs to play with better bend in space. Inconsistent with technique. Gets spun by quality routes. Loses composure and commits too many pass interferences on deep balls. Too segmented and clunky when changing direction in man coverage.

    Draft Projection: Rounds 6-7

    I think he’s undervalued in the tracker. Watching his highlights, what I saw is this:

    He is fast
    He stays with his WR
    He covers deep well
    He looks back for the ball at the right moment, avoiding interference
    He blitzes well
    He looks to trip the ball
    He has a great eye for the ball

    He’s not bad at all, even though the review of him was not great. Could be a steal. I think he’s more likely to go in rounds 3-4 than 2-3 or 6-7.

  36. NFLNut Says:

    Just ask Chris Godwin about him …

  37. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    Gobucs Says
    “Absolutely no way Derwin James is worthy of a number 7 pick.”

    I’m not a college fan at all, and if I was, it would be the Bulls.

    But James is ranked and mocked to go in the top ten all over the place. I think your estimate of him is way off.

  38. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    2 mocks on nfl .com have him going at 7 and 9

  39. NFLNut Says:


    If we get Saquon in the 1st we could take him in the 2nd … but if we can’t get Saquon in the 1st, you’re going to have to take him ISNTEAD OF a RB (Guice, Michel, Jones II or Chubb) in the 2nd and will probably end with a 4th round RB like Royce Freeman … are ya’ll good with that?

    Personally, I think spending the 2nd round pick on the RB and using the 4th on a CB like Holton Hill or JC Jackson may be better.


  40. ncbucfanhere Says:

    BucDan……I concur with the identification and assessment of Siran Neal out of JSU. I know the Jags are looking at him. We need to trade back, pick up an extra 3rd rd pick and target him in the 4th.

    1st: after trade back Mike Hughes/ CB UCF
    2nd: best RB – prayerfully Michel/RB Georgia
    3rd: after trade Braden Smith/G Auburn
    4th: Neal/Safety JSU

    1st: Derwin James/S FSU
    2nd: CB….Carlton Davis AUB
    4th: Kalen Ballage/RB Arz St

  41. Destinjohnny Says:

    I know the bucs don’t look at a players pride or heart
    Just athletic ability for the most part.
    Having said that I can’t stand fsu but this james guy has passion and heart.
    He will be a great pro.

  42. Buccaneer Bonzai Says:

    James is also the tenth highest ranked player on the tracker on NFL. Com

  43. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    I think that Derwin James is one heck of an athlete, and a damn good player. But where I stand right now, if we’re going to pick a DB at 7, it’s got to be Denzel Ward.

    By no means a perfect prospect, but he is unbelievable athletic, stays hip to hip and stride for stride with his match up, and has an uncanny sense of timing for getting a hand in between the ball and receiver at the last second to cause pass break ups.

    He has a tendency to get a bit handsy at times but nothing egregious, he’s a bit on the smaller side, but actually does a great job at open field tackling, and like Darrel Green, can use his tremendous speed lay some powerful hits on folks.

    Simply put, this kid is a natural man coverage Corner, mirrors receivers routes with ease, can jump out of the gym to knock passes away, has fluid hips and insane quick twitch agility, and I honestly don’t think there’s a receiver in the league that can burn him.

    I’m still not totally sure what I’d do if we’re faced with the unlikely circumstance of having to choose between Ward and Barkley, or Ward and Nelson, but if he’s there at 7 and they aren’t, it’s a no brainer for me unless we get some kind of ridiculously good trade down offer.

  44. Blake_Bucsfan Says:

    *…unbelievably athletic…*

  45. Bucccsss Says:

    How about Isaiah Oliver? He might the best cornerback to come out of this draft. He has the size, good technic, and knows how to play the game. He might not be the best his rookie year, but I think he’ll eventually become a pro bowl player in year 2 or 3.

  46. GhostofSchiano Says:

    We will be seeing a lot of this in 2018 –


  47. Jjones Says:

    If we have such an issue developing CB’s then why does Brett Maxie still have a job at OneBucPlace??? Isn’t it time to find a better CB coach???

  48. StPeteBucsFan Says:


    Thanks for that correction. That’s even worse…no wonder I was not excited…other than NFL scouts and fans who cares about the Senior Bowl? LOL


    Yeah I’m like you. I’m shocked I tell you…just shocked that NFL owners haven’t figured it out yet and begun raiding JBF for GM’s. LOL

    What has always amused me is that the “professionals” only bat about 50% yet many here conflate NFL draft choice with NFL player…not yet…perhaps one day…

  49. BucDan Says:


    I am a UCF alumni so that trade back looks good to me!

  50. TouchDownTampaBay Says:

    Fitzpatrick in round 1
    Michell or Chubb in round 2
    Maybe this guy in round 4 or 5

  51. Bossmode Says:

    I would say the Oliver kid in the second he big but we do not play man or on the ball coverage

  52. BuccaneEric75 Says:

    Licht is taking Ward in the 1st just to prove Lee wrong! Lol! I’ve seen more than a few mocks in recent days that have us drafting James or Ward, including Kiper, and McShay loves Ward’s tape and his speed.

  53. Blake_Bucsfan Says:


    According to Mike Smith, they give their Corners the freedom to align however far off the ball they want to be in Man. It just so happens that Hargreaves felt comfortable lining up 15 yards away from his man on every play.

  54. Crockett69 Says:

    As I stated previously fellas …………….. believe it or not Licht has a master plan. What exactly, we know not. But then again isn’t that what a quality GM does…..not show all of his cards. The trenches look 10X better than last year no doubt. I’m gonna give ’em another shot (lol, been doing this since 1984) and go forth with optimism for the 2018 year. The Commish is right, we beefed up the trenches significantly! Thank God! Go Bucs……

  55. NodakPirate Says:

    I’ve been a Penn State fan my whole life. Would love to get him. Don’t sleep on Deasean Hamilton. One of the best route runners in the class.

  56. Greecosuave Says:

    I don’t know much about Campbell but I like “Siran Neal DB Jacksonville State”. This guy is eye popping. Let’s just make the right choice or choices. This team can’t afford to fail at drafting a CB again.

    We need more picks!

  57. LUVMYBUCS Says:

    @L.C. , BucDan, Bucsfanman, NCBuc, GreecO

    I appreciate the feed back gentlemen.

  58. Bucsfanman Says:

    LUV- You da man! Good research, as always.