Christian Campbell’s Draft Stock On The Rise Ahead Of NFL Scouting Combine
Former Penn State cornerback Christian Campbell was the third-best corner on James Franklin’s roster at this time last year. John Reid and Grant Haley were listed as the top two defensive backs on the roster, but circumstances launched Campbell into a bigger role that could see him drafted very early in the 2018 NFL Draft.
Reid went down with a season-ending knee injury ahead of the 2017 Blue-White spring game, thrusting Campbell into a starting role on Brent Pry’s defense. Campbell put together a strong campaign, starting in all 13 of the team’s games during the 2017 season. He made 45 tackles, defended 13 passes, and forced three turnovers — including two fumbles and an interception.
The Alabama native may not have been on many NFL scouts’ radars prior to this season, but a strong performance throughout the 2017 and a good week of practice leading up to the Senior Bowl make it almost certain he’ll be picked somewhere in the middle rounds of the draft.
What may be even more impressive is the fact that Campbell shined during Senior Bowl practice while reportedly carrying a nagging injury that would force him to sit out of the game. He’s listed as the No. 24 cornerback prospect of this year’s draft class by CBS Sports and No. 175 overall. An aspect of Campbell’s game that may set him apart from other prospects is something you can’t teach in practices or film sessions: size.
Only eight of the 23 cornerback prospects ahead of Campbell on CBS’s rankings are as tall or taller than Campbell, who’s listed at 6’1″. Teams that need help at the defensive back position — like the Tampa Bay Buccaneers or Chicago Bears — may take a flyer on Campbell. Size isn’t necessary in order to play cornerback in the NFL, but it certainly helps, especially against some of the league’s taller, rangier receivers like Julio Jones and Dez Bryant.
It seems unlikely that Campbell will sneak into the first round, but his stock could continue to climb if he puts together a strong performance at the NFL Scouting Combine. The combine will be held in March at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis and the NFL Draft is in April.