Cleveland Browns UDFA No. 2: Mark Campbell, Tight End, Class of 1999
Mark Campbell was a boring blocking tight end who played on the boring 12th-ranked Michigan Wolverines team catching passes from a boring, slow but accurate quarterback named Tom Brady.
What kind of pedigree is that?
Accordingly, Campbell went undrafted in the 1999 NFL Draft, and the Browns picked him up. After breaking his leg in 2001, he muscled up during rehab and had a bit of a breakout year in the Browns’ playoff season of 2002, expanding his role from blocking tight end to more of a pass receiver, catching 46 balls for 390 yards and four touchdowns. He was just a really good tight end for the Browns.
Here’s where Campbell’s story gets a bit loopy. As you may recall, coach Butch Davis seemed to be trying to build a cult of former Miami players to pledge undying allegiance to him. Accordingly, they traded Cambell to Buffalo (coached by young Gregg Williams) for a fourth-round draft pick.
They traded Campbell because they thought they had a generational talent in Kellen Winslow, Jr. If I may interject a personal story here, I was working at West Virginia University at the time, supervising a team of graduate students, and they were mostly Big East football fanatics, which at the time included the University of Miami.
We all knew Winslow was a head case. In particular, one student named Joe, referred to him as “the tight end equivalent of Ryan Leaf.” He pretty much nailed that.
Nevertheless, Mark Campbell was traded to make room for generational talent Winslow. Ouch. Not only that, the Browns gave up their second-round pick to move up one position while Ben Roethlisberger was still on the board, to make sure that the Detroit Lions would not take this generational talent at tight end.
Campbell played in 111 games in his career and started 77 of them. His old quarterback at the School Up North had a good career also.