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De’Vondre Campbell has eye surgery, eyeing breakout season

The second-year linebacker’s vision has improved. Will his play?

NFL: Super Bowl LI-New England Patriots vs Atlanta Falcons Dan Powers-USA TODAY Sports

The Falcons drafted De’Vondre Campbell in the fourth round last year with the hope that he could grow into something special, as Dan Quinn and company have proven they’ll do in the mid-to-late rounds. He showed flashes of that promise in his first season, but 2017 could be his breakout campaign.

Being able to see the field better certainly won’t hurt the chances of that.

Campbell’s admission that he couldn’t see the letters on the scoreboard during a game is a little surprising, but I think it’s fair to argue this didn’t have a major impact on his play on the field, given that he could likely make out, say, Cam Newton in black and teal just fine. If Dan Quinn’s preaching improvement by 1% every day, though, having improved vision should help Campbell as he adjusts to playing the strong side, where he’ll be called upon to blitz and cover more often.

The arrow is pointing way up for Campbell, who should be more prepared in his second year and was already one of the most physically gifted players on the defense. I’m expecting a big year from him, and if he can prove to be an asset as a pass rusher, he may prove to be truly special.