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Finishing Touch: Cardinals Fill Out Revamped Front Seven With De'Vondre Campbell

Inside linebacker checks final box in free agency makeover

ILB De'Vondre Campbell will pair with Jordan Hicks in the middle of the Cardinals' defense.
ILB De'Vondre Campbell will pair with Jordan Hicks in the middle of the Cardinals' defense.

The Cardinals stunned the NFL world by reportedly trading for star receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and now everyone can't wait to see their offense.

But Steve Keim never slowed down, quickly turning his attention to the defense.

The Cardinals' general manager added three new starters to his front seven in the first few days of free agency. Defensive tackle Jordan Phillips and edge rusher Devon Kennard were the first two dominoes, and now inside linebacker De'Vondre Campbell has been added to complete the overhaul.

Campbell agreed to terms on a one-year deal worth up to a reported $8.5 million on Thursday, and will slot in next to Jordan Hicks in the middle of the defense. The Cardinals needed an upgrade at the position because former first-round pick Haason Reddick never panned out and was moved to outside linebacker late in 2019.

Campbell, 26, started 54 of 59 games in his first four seasons with the Falcons. He finished 2019 with 129 tackles, two interceptions, three forced fumbles, two sacks and a fumble recovery.

Campbell was drafted by Atlanta in the fourth round of the 2016 draft and became a staple on defense, accumulating 92 tackles or more in each of the past three seasons.

A linebacker corps which lacked depth a year ago now looks formidable on paper: Hicks and Campbell on the inside, with Chandler Jones and Kennard off the edge.

Even though the Cardinals' defense improved in the final four games, its final numbers in 2019 were among the worst in the NFL. The addition of Campbell filled the final glaring hole in the starting lineup as the group aims for a turnaround in 2020.

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