Iowa LB Jack Campbell was one of the most productive defenders in college football over the past two seasons. And now, he’s one of the premier linebacker prospects in the 2023 NFL Draft, with a scouting report that should entice NFL teams.
Jack Campbell NFL Draft Profile
- Position: Linebacker
- School: Iowa
- Current Year: Senior
- Height/Weight: 6’5″, 246 pounds
- Length: 31 7/8″
- Wingspan: N/A
- Hand: 10 1/4″
If you ask people in Iowa about Campbell, you will only hear good things. He has become a familiar face for some prospects, but it is evident that people genuinely appreciate him and what he has done for the Hawkeyes’ program.
The Hawkeyes have a habit of finding hidden gems during the recruitment cycle, and it is undeniable that Campbell was one of them. He was a three-star recruit in 2019 and a two-year team captain in high school. Campbell arrived at Iowa with little fanfare, but he left as a star player.
In 2019 and 2020, Campbell gradually took on more responsibility on the field. By 2021, he had become a top-level starter, recording 140 total tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss, a sack, two interceptions, and six pass deflections in 14 games. The following year, he added 125 more tackles, 5.5 more tackles for loss, and two more interceptions, and was recognized with the Butkus Award as the best linebacker in college football.
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For Campbell, the numbers are mere results of the merger of high-level talent and character. He wasn’t just the most productive LB in the Big Ten. He was a sophomore Leadership Group member, a Player Council member in his final two seasons, and anointed a permanent defensive captain.
“Everything he looks at and sees is opportunity,” Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz said of Campbell in a December press conference. “He’s extremely humble and appreciative. You coach a guy like that — with all due respect to our defensive staff — you coach a guy like that, it ain’t hard, right? He’s an unbelievable young guy.”
Campbell made a career out of capitalizing on opportunities at Iowa. And now his greatest opportunity lies ahead of him after being selected in the first round by Detroit: The NFL.
Jack Campbell Scouting Report
- He is an extremely well-built linebacker with rare size and a stout base to combat blocks.
- Flashes great explosiveness and closing burst at his size, accelerating with energy.
- Shows glimpses of snappy corrective footwork and short-area twitch in congestion.
- Has great sideline-to-sideline range with fleet-footed acceleration and stride lengths.
- Adept processor with a high football IQ against blocks and superb reaction quickness.
- A gap-sound defender who routinely clogs lanes and uses his size to wall off blockers.
- Can anticipate crossing routes in coverage, passing off and carrying receivers in zone.
- He has shown the burst and stop-and-start ability to match routes in space.
- Strong, physical tackler who barrels into opponents with momentum and wraps up.
- An extremely high-energy competitor who brings maximum effort on every down.
Areas for Improvement
- Size comes at the cost of hip fluidity, which can impact his recovery quickness in space.
- Isn’t always able to squeeze through tight gaps and maintain pursuit at his size
- Can occasionally be baited into drifting out of position by motions and option plays.
- Can be overaggressive, allowing himself to be sealed off on the backside of runs.
- Sometimes vacates outside lanes prematurely and engages blockers, clearing space.
- Lacks elite upper-body strength and sometimes delays in deconstructing blocks.
- Proportional length is middling, inhibiting his ability to break away from linemen.
- Average pass-rushing threat whose tendency to divert upright nullifies his base often.
Iowa LB Jack Campbell Current Draft Projection
Campbell wasn’t always a household name in the 2023 NFL Draft LB class, but he grades out as a fringe top-50 prospect on my board. He’s a worthy early-to-mid Day 2 prospect, a top-five player at his position and a defender tailor-made for the MIKE role in the NFL.
Just as teams bank on the upside, they also find themselves partial to guaranteed reliability on other occasions. Few prospects, regardless of position, are more reliable than Campbell in the 2023 NFL Draft.
It’s important to mention that Campbell possesses impressive athleticism and towering size, measuring at 6’5″ and weighing 246 pounds. He also has a strong burst of speed, great range, and the ability to quickly adjust his movements to make plays. However, despite his physical attributes, Campbell’s standout qualities are his instincts, intelligence in the game of football, physicality, and skill in finishing tackles.
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Although Campbell is a big and talented linebacker, he can sometimes struggle with fluidity, which may limit his potential. Additionally, he may not be the most dominant pass-rusher. Despite these minor drawbacks, Campbell is one of the most well-rounded linebackers in his class and has a very high floor.
His size, athleticism, play recognition, gap discipline, coverage abilities, and playmaking range make him a valuable asset to any NFL defense for many years to come. Moreover, his strong character and excellent communication skills make him a natural fit as a defensive leader.
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