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Lions 1st-round pick Jack Campbell may be best Iowa LB in last 25 years

Get to know the Lions 18th pick in the 2023 NFL Draft

Vrbo Citrus Bowl - Iowa v Kentucky Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

Detroit Lions general manager Brad Holmes does not care about who you mocked to the Lions in the 2023 NFL Draft. He’s going to get his guy. Although, to be fair, Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell has “Dan Campbell guy” written all over him.

The Lions needed some linebacker help and got a guy who many had as the top linebacker in the NFL Draft. When you see him play, you can see why. Campbell is a monster of a linebacker at 6-foot-5 and 249 pounds. That size doesn't impede him though. He can go sideline to sideline and he can succeed in coverage.

We wanted to know more about the Lions newest linebacker, so we reached out to Iowa beat writer Tom Kalkert of Hawkeye Report to get the scoop. Here’s what he had to say:

1. What are your overall thoughts on Campbell’s time at Iowa?

“I’ve covered the Hawkeyes for twenty years and Jack Campbell is on the short list of the best players and people I have been around. He’s the total package. I think he might be the best linebacker to come out of Iowa in the Ferentz era, which is headed into Year 25. That includes some really great linebackers.

“Loves the game of football and plays with a passion when he’s on the field. Off the field, he’s one of the kindest people you will ever meet. I’m not kidding about that. His kindness is endless. He’s the type of person that you want your daughter to bring home as her boyfriend. Special young man.”

2. What are his strengths?

“I always loved his motor. He just plays sideline to sideline and he never feels out of a play. Really solid tackler and has a great deal of toughness. He’s rarely out of position and always seems to be in the right place at the right time.

“Can’t say this enough, he loves football. He’s a football guy and will be a terrific leader.”

3. What are his weaknesses?

“There were some questions coming to Iowa as to whether he would stick at linebacker. He’s big and some folks thought that he might end up with his hand on the ground. But, he stayed at linebacker and was terrific.

“I think the other question mark might be covering NFL level tight ends. Perhaps he might not have the speed in coverage. Having said that, he practiced against some good tight ends while he was at Iowa, including Sam LaPorta, who is going to be drafted this year.”

[Editor’s note: Coincidentally, this was answered before the Lions drafted LaPorta.]

4. Campbell has “Dan Campbell guy” written all over him. What kind of fit do you think he has with the Lions?

“I think he’s a great fit for Dan Campbell and what he looks for in a football player. He loves the game of football. Just loves it. While I don’t cover the Lions, my impression of Dan Campbell is he’s a ‘football guy’ and so is Jack Campbell.

“Jack will come in and be really humble and lead by example each and every day. To me that fits with what seems to work under Dan Campbell.”

5. Can Campbell make an immediate impact in the NFL?

“I think he can come in and play right away. I don’t know much about the Lions linebackers, but he’s going to help there early. He’s also a very willing and impactful player on special teams. He did that early on in his Iowa career. He’s going to be happy to help in any way he can.”

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