Minnesota Golden Gophers linebacker De’Vondre Campbell looks at himself and sees the kind of player Mike Zimmer likes.
What does Mike Zimmer look for in a defensive player? Long and athletic, long and athletic, long and athletic. Minnesota Golden Gophers LB De’Vondre Campbell thinks he fits this general mold well enough to be drafted by the Vikings next month.
Campbell told the Pioneer-Press that he actually compares himself to current Zimmer Guy Anthony Barr.
Via the Pioneer-Press:
"“(Barr is) one of my bigger kind of role models. I’ve watched a lot of film on him. We kind of have similar body types. Coming out (of UCLA), he was a little more polished than I was in college, but he’s kind of similar to me — a very athletic, bigger guy, kind of what (Vikings coach Mike) Zimmer looks for.”"
Campbell clearly knows a thing or two about Mike Zimmer’s preferences in defensive players. The linebacker said he didn’t get to speak to Zimmer personally at Minnesota pro day, but he did get to watch Zimmer working with some other players and is a big fan of Zimmer’s “hard-nosed” coaching style.
We’re all big fans of Zimmer’s “hard-nosed” coaching style.
Campbell’s assessment of himself as being less polished than Anthony Barr coming out of college is generally confirmed by scouting reports. Campbell is praised by scouts for his size and athleticism, but has been criticized for not possessing true linebacker instincts or the ability to diagnose plays.
You certainly can’t blame a raw player like Campbell for wanting a chance to study in the Mike Zimmer School of Defense, but if the Vikings do take him it will be in the late rounds and he likely won’t be much more than a backup at least early on. His defensive-end-like traits scream “Sam linebacker in Zimmer’s system” and the Vikings already have that Barr guy holding down the Sam.