Commentary

Draft Lab: Bruce Campbell's stock

The run-blocking metrics are superb, but there are some issues defending the pass

Updated: December 22, 2009, 9:19 AM ET
By KC Joyner | ESPN Insider
Getty ImagesTodd McShay had this guy No. 12 in his first mock. KC shows him some love, too.

Every Tuesday, K.C. Joyner writes up a "Draft Lab" on a potential 2010 NFL Draft entrant. This one isn't potential -- Maryland OL Bruce Campbell has said he'll be entering the April festivities. For a full archive of KC's thoughts on various prospects, please click here.

One of the traps that football personnel evaluators have to constantly remain vigilant against is overvaluing one facet of a position; this often happens, for example, with quarterbacks and arm strength. As important as velocity is for a passer, it is rather meaningless unless it is combined with accuracy. Passing power can be so alluring that it is easy to give it more credence than it deserves if one isn't careful.

That mindset also comes into play for left tackles and pass blocking in large part because of "The Blind Side" (first as a book, then as a movie); the public's perception of pass blocking is now at the loftiest of heights.

As important as protecting the passer is for the left tackle position, two moves made by NFL teams the past two seasons show that professional talent evaluators still understand the value of run blocking at that position.

The first was when the Miami Dolphins drafted Michigan left tackle Jake Long as the No. 1 pick in the 2008 draft. Long was a good pass blocker -- but he was an elite run blocker, and it was the combination of these traits (not just his ability to protect the corner of the offensive line) that moved him to the top slot in the selection process.

The second was when the Philadelphia Eagles traded for Buffalo left tackle Jason Peters this past offseason. According to the metrics I compiled for Scientific Football 2009, Peters was coming off of a season where he was tied for last place with Houston's Duane Brown for most sacks allowed among left tackles.

It may have seemed odd for the Eagles to be willing to part with a first and fourth round draft pick for someone coming off of a pass blocking season like that, but a look at the run metrics shows why Philly wanted Peters. Peters' 90.9% Point of Attack (POA) run block win percentage was the 2nd highest among left tackles and 8th best among all offensive linemen. The Eagles obviously valued his ability to keep Donovan McNabb from getting hit but they also wanted his help in solving their short-yardage running woes and that was likely the clincher in closing the deal.

I bring all of this up because of what the metrics said about Maryland left tackle Bruce Campbell (currently listed as the No. 12 pick on Todd McShay's Mock Draft 1.0). Let's start with his pass blocking.