Tyson Campbell is playing like a Pro Bowler

The final stages of the Jalen Ramsey era in Jacksonville flat-out SUCKED.

The best defensive player in franchise history was shipped to L.A halfway through the 2019 season. And as brutal as that day felt, it hurt even worse two and a half years later.

Ramsey went on to win a ring (and earn two First-Team All-Pro selections) as a Ram — after promising Jaguar’s fans not just a Super Bowl appearance, but victory as well. Los Angeles got the best cornerback of his generation and a championship parade; Jacksonville got three draft picks.

Those picks turned into edge rushers K’Lavon Chaisson (two career sacks) and Jordan Smith (two career games played) plus running back Travis Etienne (who missed his entire rookie season due to injury).

To make matters worse, Jacksonville couldn’t come close to replacing CB1, and not for lack of trying. The Jaguars drafted CJ Henderson ninth overall in 2020, then paid Shaquill Griffin $29 million guaranteed in 2021. The former played 10 total games in teal before being traded to Carolina; the latter reached 19 before being benched landing on injured reserve earlier this season.

But you know what they say, right? It’s always darkest before dawn.

Etienne is now fully healthy and playing like a top-10 NFL back; Trevor Lawrence is confidently a long-term solution at quarterback; and the third member of that 2021 draft class is just as impressive.

Jacksonville’s latest swing at cornerback went yard. Tyson Campbell is playing like a pro bowler.

the tape

Campbell put on a clinic in the first shadow assignment of his young career against Mike Williams in Week 3.

Campbell held Courtland Sutton to one catch for 13 yards in his second shadow matchup in Week 8.

The following week, he allowed three catches for 45 yards and one score against Davante Adams.

In his latest performance, Campbell allowed one total catch for six yards against the best player in the league. Jacksonville played a zone-heavy game against Patrick Mahomes in Week 10, and Campbell showed up with several uncredited forced incompletions.

Campbell showed plenty of rookie flashes and reportedly had a great training camp, but nevertheless, his jump in consistency on tape is very impressive.

The Analytics

last month, Next gen stats ranked Campbell as the league’s fourth-best corner in pass defense.

Opponents targeting Campbell in coverage have lost -15.5 expected points this season, sixth-best among all defenders. A big key to Campbell’s success: His ability to play tight coverage, allowing the second-lowest average target separation (1.8 yards) in the NFL this season (min. 20 targets).

Heading into last week, Pro Football Focus ranked him 10th in their cornerback rankings.

One of the emerging stars of the 2022 season, Tyson Campbell has developed into one of the best overall cornerbacks in the league after a rough rookie campaign. He’s allowed more than 45 receiving yards in a single game just once, and opposing quarterbacks have a 58.8 passer rating when targeting Campbell. He has also really improved as a run defender, making him one of the more well-rounded cornerbacks in the league.

Campbell also received an honorable mention in a Football Outsiders piece last week, which recognized the NFL’s best second-year players at each position. (That’s significant, considering his fellow high school and NFL draft class mate Patrick Surtain II already holds league-wide recognition as an elite corner.)

Here’s a look at where he ranks in advanced statistics from SIS.

Based on the chart below (as well as the eye test), opposing offenses shy away from #32.

Here’s his numbers against all top receivers he’s faced this season.

The film and the numbers make a clear argument that the second-year pro is already playing like a top NFL cornerback. Let’s do our part in getting him to his first per bowlshall we?

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