Small-school prospect getting big-school looks

He may come from a small school that has never had a player make the opening-day roster, but that isn't daunting to this safety/linebacker. With teams buzzing over him and bringing him across country for personal visits, odds are good he will make a team and then he can make an impact.

"I don't look at it as a weight," Kurt Campbell said of being the first Albany player to make an NFL roster. "I have to go in there like it's just another trial in my life, just go out there and do it."

Campbell has been receiving lots of attention. He said he spoke to scouts from the Chicago Bears, Atlanta Falcons, New Orleans Saints, Miami Dolphins and Tampa Bay Buccaneers while in Las Vegas at the All-American Classic and had visits with the Dallas Cowboys, Jacksonville Jaguars, Seattle Seahawks, St. Louis Rams and New York Giants.

"They see me as a safety, basically because of my speed and stuff like that, my athleticism, what I can do," Campbell said of a few teams he visited. "Some like me at linebacker as well. Different teams, different schemes."

The problem throughout Campbell's career has been health. Campbell had arthroscopic surgery on his shoulder before his junior season, limiting his effectiveness. He has missed significant time during his career and during his showcase week of practice in Las Vegas, he was sidelined with a knee injury.

"It was definitely a frustration, but at the same time I have to keep my head up," said Campbell. "I can't really dwell on that too much, so it's just like, "Oh, ok." I have to deal with it."

And deal with it he has. Besides the growing number of visits, Campbell ran in the 4.45 range at his Pro Day, had a 6.99 three-cone drill, a 42.5 vertical jump, a 10-foot-2 broad jump and pounded out 19 reps on the bench press.

As a senior, Campbell collected 34 tackles, including 2.5 for losses, plus added three pass deflections and one fumble recovery in 10 games.

At 6-foot-1, 230 pounds and sub 4.5 speed, some teams have projected him to safety while others prefer him at linebacker.

"I'm comfortable at both, so it's kind of like either/or," said Campbell. "They obviously like me for something. I'll just go in there and do what I always do."

He is well aware of the differences between the two positions.

"Right, like shedding, taking on blockers, that kind of stuff, whereas a safety is more opened-up, half field, coming down and playing the run from, like, 15 yards out," Campbell said. "It's kind of like a mind thing, because I do both of them in the game, anyway. Sometimes I'll be playing corner, sometimes I'll be playing safety, sometimes I'll play linebacker."

The concern is his career totals don't stand out a whole lot. He finished his career with 120 tackles and one interception as a cornerback and linebacker.

Injuries also play a role into the equation. When the investment is hundreds of thousands, every team studies the medical reports as much as the player.

Campbell says the knee is fine and he is eager to make it into training camp, whether he is eventually drafted or not.

"Whenever the day comes, I'll know what I am," Campbell said, alluding to some teams saying he is a linebacker while others point to safety.


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