Analyst projects rookie Jack Campbell to claim significant role for Lions right away

Lions rookie linebacker Jack Campbell is standing out at camp, and could soon overtake a fan favorite for a starting job.

The Detroit Lions have some intense competition currently brewing on the roster, and a few different positions could feature new starters when the season begins.

Defensively, the Lions have the best depth they've had at linebacker in a long tome. There, rookie Jack Campbell is pushing for a big immediate role.

According to ESPN Lions' beat writer Eric Woodyard, Campbell has excelled early on in the competition at linebacker. In a look at position battles around the league,Woodyard noted how Campbell has impressed enough to potentially now take on the look of a starter.

"Entering camp, linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard declared an open competition for the starting roles. No. 18 overall pick Jack Campbell joins Alex Anzalone, Derrick Barnes and Malcolm Rodriguez in the fight for the first-team spots. Campbell has looked like a starter so far, trying to help a defense that allowed 5.22 yards per carry in 2022 -- third-worst in the league."

Eric Woodyard, ESPN

Given that he was drafted 18th overall, Campbell is easy to pencil in for a starting job. And thus far, he's earning consideration like he has to.

If Campbell claims a starting job, though, it could be at the expense of another player who stepped into a starting role as a rookie himself last year.

Analyst projects Jack Campbell to take starting job from Malcolm Rodriguez

Alex Anzalone is locked into one of the two starting linebacker spots for the Lions. But if Campbell manages to earn the right to start, who could be bumped out of a that role. Malcolm Rodriguez, who had a fine 2022 rookie season after being a sixth-round pick, was a clear post-draft loser after the selection of Campbell's Eric Edholm put together a piece detailing which first-string players are at risk of losing their starting jobs. He named Rodriguez, through no fault of his own.

"I don't believe this has much to do with Rodriguez's performance, and Lions defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn has warned the media not to read too much into training camp reps -- including who is starting and who isn't -- while Detroit works through all its different personnel combinations. But with Alex Anzalone's starting job feeling secure and the Lions likely to deploy a lot of two-LB groupings, it's hard to see Rodriguez starting the majority of games now barring an injury or two."

Eric Edholm,

Last season, Rodriguez totaled 87 tackles over 16 games while starting 15 contests.

While Rodriguez could certainly still see his share of key snaps this season, the trend from early in camp seems to be Campbell showing himself to be starter material.


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