Oct 21, 2012; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder (7) avoids a sack from Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell (93) during the first quarter against the Arizona Cardinals at the Metrodome. Mandatory Credit: Brace Hemmelgarn-USA TODAY Sports

Top 10 Player Countdown: #4 Calais Campbell


Checking in at #4 of the Raising Zona staff writer vote for the Arizona Cardinals is defensive end Calais Campbell. As far as I am concerned Campbell is a classic case of a player who has been overlooked year in and year out.

It is my belief that if Campbell was in a bigger market or on one of the more popular teams in the NFL, he would be a household name throughout the league.  In fact, if a certain writer was not reminded about him (with a chuckle), he would perhaps have been rated even lower than number four.  This is why I went out of my way to do this article.  I even feel like kicking myself for not putting him higher myself on the top ten list (putting him #4 myself).

Just to prove a point, Campbell was voted on the “All-Joe Team” two different times (2009-2011).  Which is an annual selection of National Football League players and coaches deemed hard workers and over-achievers that maybe overlooked by the media.  Campbell should have been a Pro Bowler at least once by now.  As far as I am concerned, he is J.J. Watt-esque.  Campbell perhaps is not quite at the same level as Watt but very close, as far as I am concerned.

BIOGRAPHY

Campbell stared at South High School in Aurora, Colorado, where he established a state record of 58 sacks during his four years in high school.  As well as 38 sacks in his final two years and 19 sacks, 188 tackles and two interceptions as a senior.  Campbell also played a little TE in high school and had 38 receptions for 412 yards and four touchdowns.

Campbell’s next stop after high school was the University of Miami, where he played for three years.  During his three-year career with the Canes, he recorded 158 tackles, 19.5 sacks, 39 tackles for a loss and 30 quarterback pressures.  After a solid freshman season, Campbell’s best year was his sophomore season. During his sophomore season, he was named MVP of the team, where he had 10.5 sacks, fourth in the nation with 20 tackles for a loss, a team high 16 quarterback pressures and second on the team with 80 tackles.

After his junior year with the Canes, Campbell decided to go pro and was drafted in the second round (50th pick) in the 2008 NFL Draft, by the Cardinals.  After his rookie year, Campbell has been a regular on the defensive front at the defensive end position in the 3-4 alignment.

He has been the team leader in sacks three out of the last four years and three years in a row from 2009-2011, until Daryl Washington broke his string last season.  He has also been consistently among the league leaders in passes defensed year after year and in 2011 was tied for the league lead in blocked field goals with three.

ANALYSIS

At 6’8” Calais Campbell is an extremely intimidating force on the defensive front for the Cardinals and perhaps one of the most underappreciated and overlooked players in the NFL.  It is my belief Campbell probably should have been in at least one Pro Bowl by now and is J.J. Watt-esque.

He is a force to be reckoned with on the defensive front.  Campbell is not only one of the better sack artist at his position, he is also one of the best pass defenders and field goal blockers in the NFL.  If it wasn’t for Larry Fitzgerald, Patrick Peterson and Darrell Washington, I could have easily put him right up at the top of the list (staff writer top ten list).

After a couple more solid seasons for Campbell, look for him to finally start getting the recognition that he deserves and finally make it to the Pro Bowl.  Furthermore, when it is all said and done, he will finally become recognized as one of the best players at his position in the NFL.

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