Last week, the NFL named their first string All-Pro team. On that team were three Green Bay Packers. Quarterback Aaron Rodgers made the first team for the fourth time in his career. Joining Rodgers on the offensive side was his top pass catcher, wide receiver Davante Adams. This is the second consecutive year that Adams earned the honor of being first-team All-Pro. While Rodgers and Adams being named All-Pro should delight most Packers fans, it is the third member that should excite Packers fans the most. By being named first-team All-Pro, De’Vondre Campbell finally gives the Packers an All-Pro inside linebacker.
Green Bay Packers Defense Finally Finds a Standout in De’Vondre Campbell
In recent history, the Packers defense has had its struggles. During that span, there has been one consistent. That being talent at the inside linebacker position.
While many have argued, foolishly, that the inside linebacker in the NFL isn’t important, Campbell shoots down that theory. This season, under first-year defensive coordinator Joe Barry, the Packers defense has improved. That improvement has a lot to do with Campbell’s arrival.
Since joining the Packers early in training camp, Campbell has been everything the Packers defense has been missing. It is a rarity to find inside linebackers who can play three downs. But that is what De’Vondre Campbell has given them, a three-down inside linebacker. That ability not only helped the Packers improve defensively, but it also made the NFL stand up and notice.
An Unexpected Defensive Star
It is hard to believe that Brian Gutekunst envisioned the way De’Vondre Campbell would play this season. Signed in June, Campbell was expected to provide a veteran presence at the inside linebacker position. For Gutekunst and head coach Matt LaFleur, at the very least, Campbell would provide good depth.
But the addition of De’Vondre Campbell has been much more than just depth. In training camp, Campbell outplayed 2020 fifth-round pick Kamal Martin and 2018 third-round pick Oren Burks. Campbell played so well, it cost Martin his job. Gutekunst cut his former fifth-round pick. While it didn’t cost Burks his job, his playing time has been mostly on special teams this season.
Since winning one of the starting jobs (Krys Barnes won the other starting spots) Campbell hasn’t looked back. Not only has he been the biggest playmaker at inside linebacker, but he has become the leader of the Green Bay Packers defense. Campbell has been the type of inside linebacker the defense has been in search of for so very long.
Numbers Back-Up Campbell’s All-Pro Honor
De’Vondre Campbell’s play earned him the right to be first-team All-Pro. It isn’t just hearsay, the numbers back up Campbell’s honor.
This season, Campbell led the Packers in total tackles with 146. Out of those, 102 of them were solo tackles. Campbell being the Packers top tackler wasn’t even close. The next closest defender was safety Adrian Amos who finished with 93. The next closest inside linebacker was Barnes, who finished with 83. Campbell also chipped in two sacks, two interceptions, two forced fumbles, and recovered one fumble as well.
Campbell’s numbers also stood out among the top tacklers in the NFL. He finished seventh in total tackles, tied for third in solo tackles, and 16th in assist tackles. His individual numbers, along with what he meant to the Packers defense, prove that he was one of the top defenders in the NFL this season.
While Campbell did earn first-team All-Pro honors, he wasn’t named to the Pro Bowl. The snub to the meaningless Pro Bowl shouldn’t concern Campbell. He and his teammates are hoping that they will be busy preparing to play in this year’s Super Bowl.
Embed from Getty Images