Arizona Cardinals defensive end Calais Campbell has been a model of consistency since being drafted in the second round of the 2008 NFL Draft.
Each of the last four seasons, Campbell has recorded at least six sacks, and from 2010-12 has at least 60 tackles to his credit.
While Campbell has often been overlooked — yet to make a Pro Bowl — in the shadow of fellow teammate and lineman Darnell Dockett, people are starting to take note of the former Miami standout’s playmaking abilities.
In his weekend column, CBSSports.com NFL Insider Pat Kerwin ranked the top 10 lineman out of the league’s possible 116 starters. The rankings weren’t just based on statistics (sacks, hurries and knockdowns) but rather which players have the most success regardless of their scheme — be it a 3-4 or 4-3.
Campbell came in at No. 8 on the list.
8. Calais Campbell, Arizona: Campbell has a rare combination of size and athletic ability. He was overshadowed by teammate Darnell Dockett for years but has emerged as a dominating 3-4 DE. At 6-feet-7 he can play with leverage and get under the pads of shorter offensive linemen.
After his elite list, Kerwin went a step forward and named 10 lineman who are poised to rebound from an less-than-inspiring 2012 campaign. Not surprisingly, Dockett’s name was at the top.
Dockett had just 34 total tackles and 1.5 sacks last season, his fewest in both categories since 2005.
1. Darnell Dockett, Arizona: Dockett complained about last year’s defensive scheme as limiting. If he was right, then he will bounce right back this season with a score of 35-40 (combined sacks, hurries and takedowns). But if his age (32) is the issue, then we will see a repeat of 2012’s 14.5.