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NFL Draft Profile: Jack Campbell

School: Iowa

Position: LB

Year: Senior

The Good: Jack Campbell, standing at 6’5” and 250lbs with that name at the University of Iowa, is basically what you think of when you close your eyes and think of a middle linebacker. He leaves Iowa as a massively productive player for the Hawkeyes, culminating with the 2022 Butkus Award as the best linebacker in the country. Campbell is a force in the middle of the field, holding his own between the tackles and very willingly taking on blockers. Campbell is a proven gap filler, and he flashes good enough closing speed outside of the tackle box. Campbell is a better run defender than pass defender, but he’s shown on tape that he can make plays in coverage by reading the eyes of QBs. Campbell doesn’t exactly look athletically limited on the field, but he still caught people by surprise with his outrageous testing at the Combine: both his broad jump and 3-cone were above the 90th percentile for linebackers.

The Bad: The flaws in Campbell’s game are predictable, but they are flaws nonetheless. He’s way too aggressive in pursuit, which leads to a fair share of missed tackles – especially in the open field. This also shows up when Campbell heavily bites on play action. Campbell also has room for improvement in stacking to better position himself to get off blocks; right now, he basically just runs square into every blocker. In coverage, Campbell’s eyes get stuck in the backfield and he’s often a step late to carry WRs and TEs.

The Bottom Line: 50 years ago, Jack Campbell might be the first overall pick in the Draft. Even 10 years ago, Campbell might have been a first-round lock with his combination of production and athletic testing. Now, teams are justifiably more apprehensive about this style of run-and-hit linebacker in a passing-heavy league. You also worry about Campbell’s longevity as he plays like a contact-welcoming, helmet-first maniac. Still, he should rack up huge tackle stats right from the jump and whenever he’s on the field, and it’s important to note that he kept improving as he played more games. Even if the league has gotten smarter, hopefully they don’t overlook for too long come Draft weekend that Campbell could still be a good player.

Grade: Late Second Round / Early Third Round

Pro Comp: Leighton Vander Esch

Games Watched:

  • Kentucky 2021
  • Iowa State 2022
  • Michigan 2022
  • Ohio State 2022

Plays That Matter [LINK]


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