5 best linebacker fits for Detroit Lions in the 2023 NFL Draft

Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports /
3 of 6
Credit: HawkCentral-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: HawkCentral-USA TODAY Sports /

4. Jack Campbell, Iowa

In some ways, Campbell’s style makes him a close clone to Rodriguez. The 2022 Butkus Award winner as the country’s top linebacker had 125 tackles and 5.5 tackles for loss last season, after he posted 140 tackles, 3.5 tackles for loss and six pass breakups in 2021. He had a sack and at least 3.5 tackles for loss in each of his last three seasons at Iowa, with five sacks over that span (two each in 2021 and 2022).

Beyond the possible pigeonhole that may be inherent for some an “Iowa linebacker”, it’s easy to see some athletic limitations in Campbell’s tape–and that matters the most. But he posted the top Next Gen Stats estimated Athleticism Score among linebackers at the NFL Combine, fueled by a 4.65 40-yard dash, a 37.5-inch vertical and 10-foot-8-inch broad jump at 6-foot-5 and 249 pounds. High-end athleticism and high-level production? An NFL team will willingly sign up for that, likely in the early part of the second round.

Campbell reeks of the intangibles and physicality the Lions covet, with perhaps underappreciated all-aroud ability as more than a run-stopping thumber and one of the best pure tacklers in this linebacker class. At pick No. 48 or 55, if he happens to be available, he may be a quick pick for Detroit.