Jack Campbell NFL Draft 2023: Scouting Report for Iowa LB

BR NFL Scouting Department Contributor I

Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell (31) looks to make a tackle during the second half of an NCAA college football game against South Dakota State, Saturday, Sept. 3, 2022, in Iowa City, Iowa. (AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall)
AP Photo/Charlie Neibergall

HEIGHT: 6'5"











— Quick to key and diagnose zone versus gap runs to put himself in a good position to make plays.

— Comes downhill in a hurry to fill his gap on the front side of gap runs. Takes good angles in pursuit against stretch runs or outside zone.

— Physical and strong at the point of attack to get extension against offensive linemen. Has plenty of upper-body strength to stack and shed.

— Wraps up and uses good pad level when tackling.

— Gets his hands on and can force reroutes against receivers and tight ends when playing underneath in zone coverage.

— Has good eye discipline. Locates threats coming into his area and can read the quarterback's eyes to step into throwing windows.

— Impressive ball skills for a linebacker. Uses his height and long arms well to force quarterbacks to try to make perfect throws to beat his coverage between the second and third levels over the middle. Has shown the hand-eye coordination to make one-handed interceptions.

— Hustle player who will make tackles down the field in pursuit.

— Great size for an NFL linebacker.


— Falls for a lot of pre-snap eye candy and can get caught out of position against motion.

— Has a habit of taking on blocks square and stopping his feet on contact, which can cause him to lose ground if he doesn't win at the point of attack. Reliant on his upper-body strength.

— Only adequate hip fluidity. Doesn't have enough speed when spot-dropping/running backward to play a lot of Tampa 2 coverage.

— Subpar change of direction is an issue in man coverage against running backs and shifter tight ends and on scramble drills.

— Doesn't have any moves as a pass-rusher. Just runs full speed and tries to run through blockers as a blitzer.


— DOB: Aug. 22, 2000

— A 3-star recruit in the 2019 class, No. 662 overall, No. 44 OLB, per 247Sports' composite rankings

— Injuries: Knee (2022, missed spring ball)

— 27 career starts

— 2022 Honors: First-team All-Big Ten (coaches and media), Consensus All-American, Butkus Award winner (nation's best LB)

— 2021 Honors: Team MVP on defense, Academic All-Big Ten, second-team All-American (FWAA and Phil Steele), first-team All-Big Ten (league media and Phil Steele), third-team All-Big Ten (coaches)

— 2020 Honors: Academic All-Big Ten


The combine will be key for Jack Campbell, as questions remain about his athleticism when it comes to his transition to the NFL. He was athletic enough to be the most decorated linebacker in college football this season, but his change of direction and hip fluidity are questionable for a modern-day NFL linebacker.

With that being said, Campbell isn't devoid of traits that will translate to the NFL. He has impressive speed when coming downhill, which helps him plug gaps against the run and close on pass-catchers in zone coverage. He's also arguably the best linebacker at stack-and-shedding in this draft class, and he has good instincts in zone coverage.

Schematically, the Hawkeye would be best as a middle linebacker in a system that uses a lot of one-high looks and Cover 3. That would give him some help over the top and keep him from having to carry wide receivers in Tampa 2, while still taking advantage of his ability to tighten throwing windows as an underneath defender in zone coverage.

Campbell is not a one-size-fits-all type of player. He could slide in the draft if teams are looking for a linebacker with more man-coverage skills. However, he could be a great Day 2 pick for a team seeking an impact run defender on the second level of its defense.

GRADE: 7.5 (Potential Impact Player/Round 2)



PRO COMPARISON: Leighton Vander Esch

Written by B/R NFL Draft Scout Matt Holder