FLOWERY BRANCH — Here’s a look at Falcons linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, the team’s fourth-round pick in the NFL draft.
Campbell felt he had a strong rookie minicamp last week.
“I can guard tight ends, running backs and also get in those passing windows and a lot of stuff other people can’t because I’m a lot taller than the average linebacker,” said Campbell, who is listed at 6-foot-3. “Everything’s moving so fast right now because we’re (intensifying) every day, but I’m just trying to pick up on everything I can, and I think I’m picking it up pretty well. I’m just trying to go out here, take the coaching and go learn (by watching video) from the mistakes today … and just try to get better.”
Five questions with Campbell:
On what the Falcons have planned for him:
“I played both inside and outside at Minnesota, primarily outside in our nickel package. I subbed in and out a little bit. After talking to Jeff Ulbrich, he was kind of primarily talking about having me at the WILL, but I have a history of being able to play both, so that versatility is great being able to do both things, so I don’t know. I guess I’ll just find out when I get there.”
On the opportunity he has here and what chances he’ll have to make an impact:
“My mindset coming in is I’m coming in to play. I’m not coming in to sit or redshirt or wait. I’m coming in to play, so my mindset from this point out is when I get there it’s all business like it’s cool to do other things on the side, but I’m not coming in there to wait or sit behind anybody. I’m coming into play. That’s my whole point of coming to Atlanta is to help contribute towards winning a championship whether that means being a starting WILL, Sam, or even on special teams. I’m a complete team player, and I’m willing to do whatever it takes to get on the field and help contribute towards winning a championship.”
On his skills at getting after the quarterback:
“I think I have a lot of room for improvement in terms of pass rush. Pass rush is not something that is natural. It’s something that you have to work on. It’s a skill and it has to be taught. This whole offseason I was training with Chuck Smith, who’s actually an Atlanta native, down in Orlando working on my pass rush. It’s something that I feel like I can take the next step in my game to help me become an even better player because I focus on having no weaknesses and that was one of the things that I knew I needed to work on because I have the skill set to be a dominant pass rusher, so I was training with Chuck Smith for about two or two-and-a-half months before and after the draft just working on my pass rush trying to develop that part of my game.”
On how much he’s advanced from working with him:
“It’s kind of hard to tell right now because I haven’t actually been able to practice or be in a game type situation, but I see improvements and he’s told me that he’s seen improvements from the time I first met him up until the time I stopped working with him so, all I can do is go off of what he’s said. He’s trained from very big name guys, and he knows what he’s talking about so all I can do is take his word for it at this point.”
On what element of the pass rush he’s really emphasized to him:
“He really emphasizes me using my speed because speed is something that you can’t teach. You either have it or you don’t. We utilize a lot of speed rushes and counters, and he tries to tell me to try and make offensive linemen uncomfortable by beating them with speed because that forces them to open up their hips and it opens up a lot more of your arsenal in the pass rush game so that’s something that he emphasizes with me in just our short time of working together.”
Height: 6-foot, 3 5/8 inches | Arm length: 33 5/8″
Weight: 232 pounds | Hand size: 9 5/8″
40-yard dash: 4.56 seconds
Bench press: 16 reps of 225 pounds (Needs to get stronger. Clemson’s B.J. Goodson led the 2016 scouting combine with 30. The record for a linebacker is 36 by Ronnell Lewis in 2002.)
Vertical: 34 inches
Broad Jump: 9 feet, 8 inches
Three-cone drill: 7.07 seconds
Overview: Played both inside and outside at Minnesota. He has discussed playing the weakside linebacker with Falcons linebacker coach Jeff Ulbrich. He played in 13 games and started 11 games. He finished third on the team with 92 tackles, including 6.5 for loss. He had a time-high four sacks. He was named all-Big Ten honorable mention by the coaches and the media.