With the NFL Draft taking place in Chicago from April 30 through May 2, we'll be catching you up on where some Northwestern prospects may land. First up is former Northwestern safety, and the program's top 2015 draft prospect, Ibraheim Campbell.
*NFL Combine **unofficial
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While Campbell may not be the elite athlete that some of his fellow safety prospects are, NFL scouts seem to be high on him for a number of reasons. First off, he has the ability to play inside the box. He has nice downhill instincts and is strong enough to shed blockers and quick enough to maintain proper angles when attacking ballcarriers at the line of scrimmage. At the NFL Combine in February, Campbell led all safeties with 23 bench press reps. He has also shown some nice instincts in coverage throughout his career at Northwestern, finishing will 11 interceptions. At his pro day, Campbell also surprised some people with two 40s in the mid-4.5s.
The biggest area of needed improvement for Campbell is in coverage. When he makes the right read from the get go, Campbell can be effective in deep coverage. But, if makes even a small mistake in his pre-snap reads or route recognitions, he doesn't quite have the speed to always make up for it. According to NFL.com, one NFC North scout says, "When you first start watching him, you think he can play high or down (in the box), but he just gives up too many plays over the top to trust him on top."
As a whole, there are few things that Campbell does at an elite level compared to other draft able safety prospects, but he also doesn't have any severe hinderances. With experience playing on special teams, he could have value working that those units early in his career as he continues to develop his coverage techniques. As of early April, Campbell has reportedly worked out for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Cleveland Browns, Houston Texans, Baltimore Ravens, Chicago Bears and Philadelphia Eagles. He could be nice fit for a defense looking to add some safety depth in the mid-to-late rounds. The Wildcats haven't had a player drafted since 2012 when wide receiver Jeremy Ebert and tight end Drake Dunmore were both picked up in the seventh round. If Campbell lands in the fourth round, he'd be the first fourth-round prospect for Northwestern since 2010 when Corey Wootton and Mike Kafka were drafted. If he were to sneak into the third round, he'd be the first NU player picked that early since offensive lineman Trai Essex in 2005.