Former Recent Cardinals Defender Named First-Team All-Pro

De'Vondre Campbell

Getty Images De'Vondre Campbell looks on during training camp on August 12, 2020.

Despite ending the season with an 11-6 record, the Arizona Cardinals only had one player make the NFL AP’s 2021 All-Pro team on January 14.

Safety Budda Baker made the All-Pro team for the third time in his young career, who was tied for third-best among safeties with 10 votes. He was also voted onto the team in 2017 and 2020.

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Baker was named to the Pro Bowl for the fourth time in his career as he garnered 98 tackles, three interceptions, two sacks, seven passes defended and one fumble recovery. The duo of Baker and Jalen Thompson is considered one of the best in the league, who both played every game in 2021.

The Cardinals didn’t have any other All-Pro members, which you could make the argument has to do with the number of inconsistencies and injuries the team faced over the course of the season. The Cardinals went 4-6 after starting the season 7-0 and dealt with injuries to star receiver DeAndre Hopkins and quarterback Kyler Murray, who was in the MVP conversation.

Unfortunately for the Cardinals, one former player slipped away and is making a name for himself.


Ex-Cardinal Gets Honor

The Green Bay Packers have the best record and a bye week in the playoffs for a number of reasons.

But it starts with QB Aaron Rodgers, star wideout Davante Adams and linebacker De’Vondre Campbell, who was named first-team All-Pro by the NFL AP.

But it’s more meaningful and eye-opening for Campbell, who’s made an All-Pro team for the first time in his NFL career.

Campbell began his career with the Atlanta Falcons before signing a one-year contract with the Cardinals in 2020. The 28-year-old started all 16 games in 2020 and had 99 tackles, which was third on the team.

The Cardinals would let go of Campbell and knew coming into 2021 that second-year linebacker Isaiah Simmons would take over Campbell’s role. But 2021 first-round rookie LB Zaven Collins hasn’t met expectations, which gave way to Jordan Hicks overtaking the starting role.

Campbell was scooped up by the Packers in 2021 and has excelled mightily at MIKE linebacker, racking up 146 tackles, two sacks, two interceptions and two forced fumbles.

Not only did Green Bay sign Campbell to a one-year deal worth $2 million, the Cardinals actually have a higher cap hit than the Packers due to general manager Steve Keim putting part of Campbell’s original deal into 2021.

Collins has done well as the MIKE linebacker for the Cardinals. But the Packers are getting bang for their buck and the Cardinals have lacked an identity defending the run. Campbell has a 78.1 rushing-defense grade according to PFF and owns the highest overall grade among off-ball linebackers.

Football Outsiders analysts Cale Clinton and J.P. Acosta put out a piece on ESPN  titled  ‘Best veteran contracts for all 32 teams.’

Campbell was named the Packer’s best veteran contract.

Another one-year deal that has worked out beautifully features Campbell stepping into the middle linebacker role in the Packers’ defense. With new defensive coordinator Joe Barry bringing in a defense similar to the Rams’ under Brandon Staley, which utilizes lighter box defenses, the play of the Mike linebacker is critical. Campbell has not only stepped in and played up to par, but has possibly played himself into an All-Pro nod this year.

Packers GM Brian Gutekunst has done a marvelous job and even poached cornerback Rasul Douglas off the Cardinals practice squad. Douglas has been a sensation as he caught five interceptions, totaled 40 tackles and garnered 11 passes defended from Week 8 through Week 16.

Hindsight is 20/20. Of course, as the Cardinals finished 11-6 and have a date in the playoffs with the Rams. But could you imagine having cheap contracts like Campbell and Douglas on the Cardinals?


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