For weeks prior to the 2010 NFL Draft, many speculated that the Oakland Raiders would reach for offensive tackle Bruce Campbell.
The product from Maryland ran the 40-yard dash in 4.85 seconds, had an impressive 32-inch vertical leap and bench-pressed 225 pounds 34 times. He was one of the combine’s best “workout warriors,” a reason why everyone just hitched Campbell’s wagon with the Silver & Black.
Campbell’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, called his talent’s time “unprecedented.” He continued to hype his client via twitter, stating, “Bruce Campbell ran the best 40 time ever for an offensive lineman and at 314 [pounds] he will now be a surefire top 10 pick in the draft!”
Many staffers around the league noticed, but fans of the Raiders were on pins-and-needles, especially after they reached for Darrius Heyward-Bey in the 2009 draft.
“It gets your attention,” Arizona Cardinals Coach Ken Whisenhunt commented. “The guy is athletic and really moves around. He’s big and strong. You go back and look at the tape again and see what kind of player you’re talking about.”
“To me, that’s why you work out at the combine,” Whisenhunt continued. “I don’t understand why some guys don’t work out here. This is an opportunity in front of every coach and every general manager to do exactly that: stand out. It can really help you. Certainly it can help you get drafted higher.”
Eventually, Campbell did land with the Raiders. But it wasn’t anywhere near the first round. Al Davis waited till the 106th overall pick (4th round) to take him.
Pundits joked that he would be a lock to land with Oakland, but they were surprised that they showed patience in doing so.
“Unless the Raiders make a mistake on him, he’s not going in the first round,” Todd McShay said. “Bruce Campbell is not a great football player, not a first-round football player. If he goes in the first round, then some team has made a mistake on the workout.”
The knocks on the combine standouts have been their inability to translate those vitals into football skills. They may look great in pads, and run like gazelles, but can they play football?
Oakland is still trying to figure that out with Campbell. The plans were to eventually slide him into right guard. But that has been a slow progress. He’s been a project that has seen more time on the inactive list than at a line of scrimmage.
With a new regime in place, there’s no telling what Campbell’s future is with the Silver & Black.
Campbell and fellow draft-mate Jared Veldheer during rookie hazing..
“If there’s a star so far in the combine, it’s him,” NFL analyst and draft guru Mike Mayock said of Campbell. “What he’s going to have to overcome is the tape.”
And that tape showed that he would have many difficulties on the next level.
“The way I look at him, and the way the majority of the league looks at him, is he’s an exciting developmental offensive tackle prospect that could get overdrafted because of his physical prowess at the combine,” said Mayock in April of 2010.
“His [game] tape is not as good as his workouts. He’s not a good run blocker, but he’s got the potential to be a really good pass blocker because of his size. You don’t want to give him first-round money and have the pressure of playing him from Day one.”