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Arizona Cardinals Rookie Calais Campbell: Six Week Checkup

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Since we've already looked Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie's season to date, the next guy in line is the Arizona Cardinals second round pick, Calais Cambell. Campbell_mediumCampbell was a value pick because many had a first round grade on him coming out of Miami. He's got very little pressure on him to push for playing time, much less a starting spot this season since Dockett and Antonio Smith are locks at defensive end. Campbell has seen playing time in the defensive line rotation and is playing on every special teams unit.

Campbell was an absolute physical specimen coming out of Miami and it's a rare sight to see a guy of his size (6'8 282) who is as athletic and fluid as this guy. We saw Campbell's play making ability several times during the preseason when he got considerable playing time. One thing that has really stood out through six games is Campbell's ability to move in space. He's very capable of covering kicks, punts and chasing ball carriers down the field. We haven't seen him in the regular defense a great deal yet, but that's mostly due to the outstanding play of Darnell Dockett and Antonio Smith. The original idea was for Campbell to be a part of the rotation at defensive end and move inside to tackle on passing downs, but the emergence of Travis LaBoy as an outstanding pass rusher has limited Campbell's time on passing downs. Most of the time when the Cardinals switch into a dime defense, the front three are LaBoy, Dockett and Smith. Campbell did lead the defensive line in tackles for the Miami game though and caused a fumble against the Cowboys.

Overall it's hard not to be impressed with Campbell through six games and overall the only disappointment is that he hasn't gotten more chances. That's a two-way street though considering that he's not getting those chances because the veterans ahead of him are playing very well. When he is on the field though he's holding his own at defensive end, which was a concern at draft time, especially against the run. I was hoping to see a bit more passing rushing prowess by now but that will come. Thoughts? Is Campbell impact what you expected so far?