'Controversial' pick by Detroit Lions named among most impactful defensive additions

Kirthmon F. Dozier / USA TODAY NETWORK

Against the wider grain that has criticized the pick, the Detroit Lions drafting of Jack Campbell has been named among the most impactful offseason defensive additions in the league.

With a few exceptions, and even as the criticism has softened some, the Detroit Lions taking linebacker Jack Campbell at No. 18 overall in April's draft was criticized as a slap in the face to the concept of modern era positional value.

But the Lions were not the only team who regarded Campbell highly as a first round option. All in all, the Lions got one of their highest-graded players in this year's draft class, and Campbell followed college production by dominating the athletic testing at the NFL Combine.

Campbell is certainly in line to start right away for the Lions, though second-year man Malcolm Rodriguez will have something to say about that. For a team that needs an all-around force at linebacker, the rookie out of Iowa is a welcome addition.

Lions drafting Jack Campbell deemed one of most impactful defensive additions in the NFL

Alex Kay of Bleacher Report recently ranked the five most impactful defensive additions in the NFL after free agency and the draft. Some of them feel clear (Jalen Ramsey acquired by the Dolphins is No. 1), but the Lions adding Campbell surprisingly came in at No. 5.

Here's some of what Kay wrote to make the case.

"While the Lions may not have received the best overall player on the board with their second first-round selection of 2023, they did secure the player who best filled the most glaring hole in their defense and also meshes perfectly with the identity this squad has crafted under head coach Dan Campbell."

"Expect the 22-year-old to step into the starting middle linebacker role for a Detroit defense that desperately needed a pro-ready linebacker heading into the draft. Campbell will be a massive asset for a unit that was hamstrung by defensive woes last year, allowing the most yardage and the third-most points to the opposition."

The Lions' linebacking corps now has depth it didn't have anything like just a few years ago. Campbell might immediately be the best player in the group, which is far more a prop to him than a knock on those he's joining.

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