The Detroit Lions violated the creed of position value truthers for the second time in the first round of April's draft when they took linebacker Jack Campbell at No. 18 overall. And with some actual depth a linebacker, how quickly he would have a prominent role as a rookie was a question. Derrick Barnes' strong run through the offseason and now through three games has further complicated how to get Campbell on the field.
In Week 2 against the Seattle Seahawks, Campbell was used a bit as an edge rusher. In Week 3 against the Atlanta Falcons, he lined up for 26 of his 38 defensive snaps as an on-ball edge defender, as he finished with six total tackles and one tackle for loss. He also had his first career sack on the final play of the first half, and basically ran to the tunnel afterward.
Jack Campbell fully embracing new role on Lions' defense
As expected, via SI.com, Campbell is embracing his new role in the Lions' defense.
"I mean, right now, that’s something that obviously, I haven’t really gotten a lot of experience as an on-the-ball backer,” “But, right now, I’m taking anything that’s been given to me. Whatever role I get, I’m going to own it to the best of my ability, and just be that piece of the defense that, if the coaches expect that out of me, then they’re going to get that out of me.
“Right now, obviously, just starting to kind of morph into some pass-rush stuff, like setting edges… Honestly, it helps me learn the whole defense, because now that I’m playing a different position, I know kind of what they’re feeling back in the middle. So, honestly, it’s fantastic, and I’m just going to own my role, in whatever way I can help the team.”
Campbell has also gotten work covering kicks and punts. He called special teams "so fun" and "literally just a mentality", which is not a surprising sentiment from him.
Campbell is still a MIKE linebacker in the Lions' long-term vision for him. But he's embracing any way he can get on the field and make a difference--as an edge rusher, covering kicks...and that further proves how good a fit he is.