Dallas Cowboys: Bruce Campbell

IRVING, Texas -- About three days into free agency and the Dallas Cowboys are not a better team today than they were on Monday.

They cut DeMarcus Ware. They cut Miles Austin. They have signed two defensive linemen in Jeremy Mincey and Terrell McClain that figure to be rotation parts, not cornerstone pieces.

Meanwhile elsewhere in the NFC East …

The Philadelphia Eagles have added Malcom Jenkins and Noland Carroll and traded for Darren Sproles. The Eagles also did some nice special teams' shopping with Chris Maragos and Bryan Braman and also re-signed their punter, Donnie Jones.

The New York Giants added a piece to their offensive line in Geoff Schwartz and brought in running back Rashad Jennings. The key move, however, was re-signing linebacker Jon Beason. They backed out of a deal with O'Brien Schofield.

The Washington Redskins have added wide receiver Andre Roberts, guard Shawn Lauvao and linebacker/special teamer Adam Hayward. Bruce Campbell is a low-risk help to the offensive line.

Too often we get caught up in the splashes in free agency only to see them not live up to the billing down the road.

Before free agency started Stephen Jones said the Cowboys would be efficient with their spending in free agency. To see them sit back and wait should not be surprising, but that doesn't mean fans can't be aggravated.

There are good players still to be had. The Cowboys could still re-sign Jason Hatcher or add Henry Melton. While they can afford both, I don't think signing both would make sense. They could keep Anthony Spencer and hope his repaired knee comes around. They could take fliers on some of the bigger names you want if those prices come down as free agency rolls along.

As maddening as the 8-8 finishes have been, the Cowboys have been the only team in the NFC East to compete for a division title the last three years. It's a hollow accomplishment for sure, especially when stacked up against the franchise's history, but spending for spending sake is not the best solution.

There is a plan and it has to be more than Mincey and McClain, right?

Scouts Inc. mock, with Dallas tweaks

April, 22, 2010
Here are the players Scouts Inc. projects to go to the Cowboys in its seven-round mock draft ... and the players I think the Cowboys would pick at each spot given the guys on the board.

First round (27th overall)

Scouts Inc.: Boise State CB Kyle Wilson

There would be a lot of high fives at Valley Ranch if Wilson is there for the taking at No. 27. If he isn't there -- and the Cowboys don't move out of this spot -- Rutgers CB Devin McCourty is a solid bet.

Second round (59th overall)

Scouts Inc.: Maryland OT Bruce Campbell

Campbell is a top-10 athlete with late-round production. The Cowboys might be willing to gamble on his potential in the second round. But, if South Florida FS Nate Allen is there a few picks earlier, expect the Cowboys to try to move up to get him.

Third round (90th overall)

Scouts Inc.: Oregon S T.J. Ward

If they haven't drafted a safety and Georgia Tech's Morgan Burnett is still available, the Cowboys would pull the trigger quickly. He's a second-round possibility, but Scouts Inc. has him sliding into the early fourth.

Fourth round (125th overall)

Scouts Inc.: Texas WR Jordan Shipley

This is a good value pick. Shipley would improve the Cowboys' return units and challenge for playing time as a slot receiver.

Sixth round (196th overall)

Scouts Inc.: Illinois TE Mike Hoomanawanui

This only makes sense if the Cowboys trade Martellus Bennett. Let's go with Kentucky fullback John Conner, which would make recently arrested fullback Deon Anderson's job status even shakier.

Seventh round (234th overall)

Scouts Inc.: Eastern Kentucky OT Derek Hardman

Can't say I'm familiar with Hardman's work. If the draft goes down like this, guard/center and inside linebackers would be the two biggest needs the Cowboys failed to address.

Draft preview: OT Bruce Campbell

April, 19, 2010
ESPNDallas.com will look at a potential Cowboys pick each weekday leading up to the draft.


School: Maryland
Size: 6-6 3/8, 314
Position: Left tackle
Scouts Inc. rank: No. 7 at OT, No. 49 overall (scouting report)

[+] EnlargeBruce Campbell
Brad Schloss/Icon SMIBruce Campbell is a project who needs a lot of work on his technique. That being said, he'll immediately be one of the most athletic offensive linemen in the NFL.
After watching Campbell weigh in at the scouting combine, one personnel man declared that he had never seen a better body in his two decades in the business. Campbell had an awe-inspiring combine, running a 4.8 40 and putting up 34 bench press reps with arms that were measured at 36 inches. He will immediately be one of the most athletic offensive linemen in the league. His long arms, massive hands, strength and quick feet give him the potential to be a dominant pass-blocker.

Campbell’s film isn’t nearly as impressive as his physique. He started only 17 games at Maryland and wasn’t named All-ACC. He’s a project who needs a lot of work on his technique. His footwork is inconsistent, and he tends to lunge because he gets caught out of position. Despite his strength, he wasn’t a dominant force in the running game for the Terps. He’s a finesse player, raising questions about his toughness. There are also durability concerns after he missed three games as a junior (two with turf toe, one with a knee injury).

If Campbell is available at No. 27, the Cowboys will have to decide whether to gamble on his immense potential. He’s a top-10 athlete who performed like a late-round pick in college. It’d be at least two years before Campbell could be expected to compete for a starting job, which means the Cowboys would be thin behind Doug Free and Marc Colombo this season. USC’s Charles Brown isn’t in Campbell’s class athletically, but he’s a safer pick. Given the Cowboys’ recent history of offensive line draft busts, can they afford to take perhaps the biggest boom-or-bust player in the draft?

"You’ve got a 6-6, 310-pound offensive lineman and you can see his abs. He’s exceptionally strong, just sculpted. If you want to draw up what a left tackle should look like, he’s what you’re looking for. … He’s very, very, very good in pass pro. He can set quickly. He can lock out. He’s strong enough to stop the bull and athletic enough to stop the veer moves. … [As a run blocker], somewhat inconsistent with technique. That’s an area he’s good but needs improvement. … He plays with pretty good fire. I wouldn’t say he’s very loud or vocal, but it’s very important to him. He’s going to do what it takes to play. He played hurt all last season. He had turf toe from the first quarter of the first game. If you’re 310 pounds and balancing on that toe, it makes it very difficult. He played with that all year. … He’s an unfinished product, but you look at physically something you want to work with, the sky’s the limit for him. … He was a delight to coach. No hidden agendas. No issues. … We ran a West Coast offense. He’s been exposed to a lot of the stuff they run in the NFL as far as pass pro and blocking schemes. We’re not as complex, but he will have heard a lot of the stuff. He won’t be in total shock. He will have seen it."

Is a tackle in the Cowboys' future?

March, 29, 2010
We all know the Cowboys have needs at safety, offensive line, inside linebacker and cornerback.

What to do with the 27th pick of the draft is unknown?

Two mock drafts have the Cowboys taking a tackle to replace 34-year-old Flozell Adams. Don Banks of SI, in his latest mock, has the Cowboys taking Anthony Davis of Rutgers.

Charles Davis of NFL Network has Maryland tackle Bruce Campbell going to Valley Ranch.

Adams is due a $2.5 million roster bonus in June and a base salary of $5 million for 2010. But is he worth it?

Doug Free could be ready to take over for Adams at left tackle, and the Cowboys have high hopes for Marc Colombo at right tackle.

So drafting a left tackle could be in the Cowboys future.

Does Campbell's 40 time matter much?

February, 27, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS -- Maryland's Bruce Campbell, the 6-6, 314-pound left tackle with a Zeus-like physique, continues to be the buzz of the combine.

Agent Drew Rosenhaus believes Campbell's 40 time, which was officially clocked at 4.85, vaults him into the top 10 in the draft.

There's no doubt that Campbell is an amazing athlete, but how often do offensive linemen actually run 40 yards? Folks raved about Doug Free's downfield block on Felix Jones' touchdown run against the Eagles because it was so rare to see a tackle in that territory.

FootballOutsiders.com compiled a list of offensive tackles who ran sub-5.0 40s at the combine. It's a mixed bag. Maybe Campbell could develop into another Joe Thomas, but Allen Barbre's 4.84 40 hasn't helped him succeed in the NFL.

LT Campbell gets extra exam attention

February, 26, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS -- Maryland's Bruce Campbell looks more like a power forward than a left tackle.

How many 314-pound dudes have washboard abs? This is one of them. No wonder a veteran personnel man described Campbell's body as the best he's ever seen after Thursday's weigh-in at the scouting combine.

"It's genetics," Campbell said, shrugging the massive shoulders that are connected to 36 1/4-inch arms.

But the medical examinations later in the day might not have helped the probable first-rounder's draft stock.

Doctors had Campbell, a possibility for the Cowboys at No. 27 overall, undergo a series of tests after learning that he underwent an non-football-related operation in high school on the area where his spine meets the base of his skull.

"After listening to the doctors talk yesterday, it’s really over my head," Campbell said Friday. "I don’t know how to explain it more."

There were already some concerns about Campbell's durability after he missed three games last season due to a knee injury and turf toe.

Maryland OT creates buzz at weigh-in

February, 25, 2010
INDIANAPOLIS -- There are no workouts on the first day of the combine, but Maryland LT Bruce Campbell still generated a buzz.

Campbell was the clear winner of the offensive line's weigh-ins. He was measured at 6-6 3/8 and a chiseled 314 pounds with an enormous arm length of 36 1/4 inches.

One veteran personnel man called Campbell's body the most impressive he's ever seen on an offensive lineman.

That doesn't necessarily mean Campbell will be off the board by the time the Cowboys' pick comes up 27th overall. There are still questions about his football IQ and durability after an injury-plagued junior season.

Every NFL scout knew Campbell was an impressive physical specimen. They just got an up-close view of how impressive his physique is this morning.

Combine from Cowboys' perspective

February, 24, 2010
The film doesn’t lie, but NFL scouts and general managers want to know more.

That’s the purpose of the NFL scouting combine, which is held this week in Indianapolis. Scouts get a chance to see and hear things they couldn’t pick up from poring over watching every play of a prospect’s college career.

The Cowboys don’t have a need so glaring that they’ll have to reach in the early rounds, but there are three position groups their scouting contingent will pay particularly close attention to: safety, offensive guard and offensive tackle.

Here’s a look at how this week’s workouts and interviews could affect the Cowboys’ decisions in the April draft:

[+] EnlargeEarl Thomas
AP Photo/Sue OgrockiTexas' Earl Thomas may not be around if the Cowboys don't move up from the 27th spot in the first round.
Safety: Texas’ Earl Thomas, who set a school record with eight interceptions as a redshirt sophomore last season, would be a good fit for a franchise searching for playmaking ability at safety.

However, Thomas can be found in the middle of the first round in most mock drafts. Unless the Cowboys are willing to trade up from No. 27, they’d need Thomas to have a flaw or two exposed at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Thomas’ size (5-10, 197) is already considered a concern. It would become more of one if his bench rep total is well below average.

Thomas’ coverage ability is his biggest strength, with some believing that he’s good enough to cover NFL slot receivers. He would likely have to be a tick slow in the 40 and/or the shuttle and three-cone drills to still be available when the Cowboys come on the clock.

USC’s Taylor Mays is a physical specimen who was projected as a top-five pick before his senior season, but his stock has steadily gone down. He’s now projected to go in the bottom third of the first round.

The concerns with Mays will sound familiar to Cowboys fans who watched Roy Williams: He’s a big hitter at his best close to the line of scrimmage and can be a liability in coverage.

At 6-3, 231 pounds with blazing speed, Mays is the type of player whose stock could soar after his combine workouts. If that’s the case, it might benefit the Cowboys by pushing Thomas toward the bottom of the first round.

Tennessee’s Eric Berry is the only other safety projected as a first-round pick, and he’ll be gone midway through the round. South Florida’s Nate Allen tops the list of second-round safety possibilities.

Offensive guard: It’d be tough for the Cowboys to pass on Idaho’s Mike Iupati if he’s available. He might have pushed himself into the middle of the first round with a phenomenal week at the Senior Bowl.

[+] EnlargeMike Iupati
Julianne Varacchi/ESPN.comIdaho guard Mike Iupati (right) improved his stock with his showing during Senior Bowl week.
If his stock takes a dip, it would likely be because of medical evaluations or interview. He’s a chiseled 6-5, 325-pounder that should impress during workouts.

Doctors will poke and prod the shoulder that required surgery before the 2008 season. Teams will also test his football knowledge and intelligence during interviews. He’s a native of American Samoa who did not begin speaking English or playing football until he moved to California in high school. He went to Idaho because prominent programs passed on him due to academic concerns.

Iupati is the only guard expected to go in the first round.

Massachusetts’ Vladimir Ducasse, who played tackle in college, is an interesting second-round prospect. Like Iupati, Ducasse didn’t play football until moving to America in high school, although the Haitian native was a good student. There are questions about Ducasse’s technique. His performances in the quickness tests could help him rise to the top of the second round.

Illinois’ Jon Asamoah and Alabama’s Mike Johnson are other guards the Cowboys could consider before the draft’s final day.

Offensive tackle: There will be at least a few offensive tackles off the board by the time the Cowboys get on the clock. Maryland’s Bruce Campbell is one who is projected to go somewhere in the neighborhood of No. 27.

The 6-7, 310-pound Campbell is a freakish athlete who should do well in workouts. Once again, the concerns with him will be addressed during medical evaluations and interviews.

Campbell missed three games last season with a sprained MCL and turf toe. He made only 17 career starts before declaring for the draft after his junior season. There are questions about his durability and football savvy. He’s also a work in progress as a run blocker, but the Cowboys can afford to be patient with Doug Free backing up Flozell Adams and Marc Colombo. They just can’t afford another early-round offensive line bust.

USC’s Charles Brown will surely remind Cowboys scouts of one of their worst busts, ex-Trojan tackle Jacob Rogers, who never played a down in Dallas despite being a second-round pick. Like Rogers, Brown is a relatively lean tackle (6-5, 292) who relies more on athleticism than muscle.

Brown, a converted tight end, would improve his stock with a respectable showing on the bench press. He’d still probably need a year or two of seasoning before being ready to start in the NFL, but the Cowboys are drafting for the future instead of filling an immediate need at tackle.