By Fran Vaughan
Over the last couple weeks the consensus among the mock draft crowd is that the Raiders will draft Bruce Campbell of Maryland to fill their offensive tackle needs. This consensus doesn’t seem to be based on Campbell’s ability but rather a subtle implication the Raiders will do something foolish. Now mock draft pioneer Mel Kiper Jr. has confirmed as much, sort of. Don’t blame Kiper though; blame Darrius Heyward-Bey.
Jerry McDonald of Inside the Oakland Raiders quoted Kiper Wednesday admitting the Campbell pick had a bit of sarcasm attached to it. “(Camp0bell’s) a workout warrior and the Raiders have tended to reach for players in the past, and I thought as a hunch, maybe they would . . . it was a grins and giggles type thing.”
Before anyone labels Kiper a ‘Raider hater”, in fairness he doesn’t think the team will actually reach for Campbell. He thinks QB Jimmy Clausen or T Trent Williams are more likely. So where does the Campbell Consensus come from? On Monday McDonald surveyed 50 mock drafts (paid by the hour are we?) and 23 of them had Campbell going to the Raiders at number 8.
In 2009 the consensus was the Raiders would fill their need at wide receiver by drafting Michael Crabtree. The Raiders instead drafted a speedy athlete from the ACC with questionable football skills. When that exact same scenario unfolded at the combine last month the mock draft hordes planted their tongues firmly in their cheeks and the Bruce Campbell Consensus was born. “Only the Raiders would be foolish enough to draft him in the first round,” was the implication. How so?
Evan Silva of profootballtalk.com is one of the dozen or so who has the Raiders drafting a player other than Campbell (Williams). Where in the first does Silva have Campbell? He doesn’t. In fact you’ll be hard pressed to find Campbell in the first round of any mock where he isn’t picked by the Raiders. In other words, “only the Raiders.”
Campbell has only 17 starts and couldn’t crack the second team all ACC squad. He is a raw physical specimen who may need a few seasons to develop in the NFL. His technique in college of attacking defenders in pass blocking is not a fit for the Raiders zone blocking and is a problem in any blocking system against NFL zone blitzing teams.
On NFL Network Mike Mayock had Campbell listed as the fifth best tackle but also said if he was a GM he wouldn’t draft him. Campbell is a bang-or-bust project best suited for later rounds. The Raiders could get him at number 39 if they want him that badly but don’t expect him to go at number 8, even if that’s the consensus.