As soon as Bruce Campbell took the crown as the combine’s workout warrior there was no doubt Al Davis would come calling. The only real drama was how high Davis would value the left tackle out of Maryland. After reaching for another Terrapin in wide receiver Darrius Heyward-Bey there was plenty of reason to think Davis could do the same for Campbell.
In the end Davis didn’t overvalue Campbell to the extent of giving him a first round contract. Instead the Raiders grabbed Campbell in the 4th round one round after finding their true left tackle in Jared Veldheer.
That the Raiders would draft both Veldheer and Campbell in succession said it all.
Clearly Davis wanted Campbell and the scouts saw Veldheer as the true talent worth investing time, effort and money in. Davis got his man and the Raiders got in Veldheer a guy capable of doing what Robert Gallery never could. In the end it all worked out.
The end, for Campbell, came yesterday.
After two seasons in which he never started a single game, was moved from tackle to guard and only saw meaningful time in the preseason the Bruce Campbell experiment was ended. Reggie McKenzie’s cleansing continues.
Now some might view this as yet another effort to completely remove the Al Davis signature from the franchise. First and foremost that will be impossible. In order to remove the Davis influence from the Raiders you’d have to get rid of the NFL all together. What Davis accomplished was that influential.
However eliminating some bad contracts, freeing roster spots for players that can actually contribute and ridding the Raiders of scholarship athletes is something that was long overdue.
Campbell is just the latest in Davis’ pet projects that needed to be given his walking papers. Even when Davis was calling the shots there was nothing that could be done to get Campbell into an expanded role. Consider the fact that Heyward-Bey was forced into the starting lineup from day one despite a complete inability to play the position right out of college. Yet not even Davis could make a case for Campbell.
Maybe the Carolina Panthers will get more out of Campbell. They’re going to move him back to tackle. Good luck with that.
I was pulling for Campbell. His athletic ability was so enamoring that just like Davis I had visions of grandeur envisioning Campbell leading Al’s army of darkness as a pulling guard. Imagine the imposing figure of Bruce Campbell out in open space and clearing the path for Darren McFadden.
That was never meant to be. Instead of waiting around for Campbell to develop McKenzie is going forward with players that will actually add to the team. The scholarship program is long gone. Stanford Routt was the first to learn this news, Campbell just the latest.
McKenzie isn’t looking to rid the franchise of the Davis touch. If that were the case he wouldn’t have given the franchise tag to Tyvon Branch. Instead McKenzie is simply placing a higher value on production over potential. Mike Goodson won’t make the Raiders Super Bowl contenders but on Sundays he’ll be doing much more to help this team win than Bruce Campbell ever did. In the end not even Davis would argue that.