Calais Campbell will be 34 years old when the regular season begins. He was a first-round draft pick in 2008. There aren’t too many defenders still in the league from the time he was drafted. And he’s been around that long because he’s been that good. He was named to the 2010s All-Decade Team.
At the expense of Cameron Heyward of the Pittsburgh Steelers, of course, though that also includes others who made the team over him like Julius Peppers and Cameron Jordan. Heyward didn’t take that snub lightly. He even took umbrage to a recent CBS Sports ranking that had him listed as the seventh-best defensive lineman in the league, even if it was one spot ahead of Campbell.
Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Wink Martindale, however, believes that the team traded for the best at his position when they acquired Campbell earlier this offseason, and also signed him to a one-year extension on top of it. I wonder what Heyward thinks of that.
Martindale called Campbell “the best five-technique in the National Football League” recently while speaking to reporters. The topic was the defensive line and whether or not the new additions, also including Derek Wolfe, are going to change what they do in terms of scheme.
“They’re two great players and leaders”, he said. “Calais and Derek both have been just phenomenal in these Zoom meetings and getting to know their teammates as well as you can over the Internet”.
Baltimore allowed Michael Pierce to depart in free agency, and they also traded Chris Wormley to the Pittsburgh Steelers in exchange for a fifth-round draft pick. This was after trading for Campbell and, initially, signing Michael Brockers in free agency. The Brockers deal fell through, which is when they turned around and signed Wolfe instead.
You can’t take anything away from Campbell for his career, of course. He has 88 sacks heading into 2020, with just under 700 career tackles, 151 tackles for loss, with 14 forced fumbles and three interceptions. Most linemen go their entire career without an interception. He’s somehow managed three.
Over the past three seasons, he has recorded 31.5 sacks—more than Heyward’s 29—with 195 tackles, 44 tackles for loss, 77 quarterback hits, and six forced fumbles, with three recoveries, who of which he has returned for scores.