Former Penn State cornerback Christian Campbell had just one season as a full-time starter in college — but it turns out that's all he needed.
Campbell was taken No. 182 overall Saturday in the NFL draft's sixth round by the Arizona Cardinals. He was the sixth Nittany Lion selected in the draft, after Saquon Barkley (New York Giants, No. 2 overall), Mike Gesicki (Miami Dolphins, No. 42 overall), Troy Apke (Washington Redskins, No. 109 overall), DaeSean Hamilton (Denver Broncos, No. 113 overall) and Marcus Allen (Pittsburgh Steelers, No. 148 overall).
He was a popular sleeper pick in the weeks leading up to the draft. Optimum Scouting's Eric Galko went so far as to say Campbell has the tools to one day become "one of the best cornerbacks in the NFL."
At Penn State, Campbell impressed even before he became a full-time starter as a senior. As a junior, Campbell used his time at nickelback wisely. According to Pro Football Focus, he held opposing quarterbacks to the fourth-lowest passer rating (55.7) among corners who played at least 246 snaps.
As a senior, he was especially impressive in the second half of the season. He finished the year with a team-high 12 pass breakups and 13 deflections; he also had two forced fumbles and an interception.
The 6-foot-1, 193-pound prospect knew at Penn State's Pro Day last month just why NFL teams were interested.
"Most NFL scouts look for tall corners, I'm one of them and I was blessed to be tall, and a speedy, athletic cornerback," said Campbell, who ran a 4.51 40-yard dash there. "That's my strength. I feel like I can bring physicality."
Obviously, the Cardinals agree. And they're hoping he'll live up to Galko's lofty projection.