Iowa football's Jack Campbell selected by the Detroit Lions with No. 18 pick in the NFL Draft

Kennington Lloyd Smith III
Des Moines Register

Jack Campbell graduated from Iowa as arguably the greatest linebacker in school history. Now the Cedar Falls native will continue his football career as a member of the Detroit Lions. Campbell was selected with the No. 18 overall pick of the 2023 NFL Draft on Thursday night.

He is Iowa’s second first-round pick joining Lukas Van Ness (Green Bay Packers, 13th).

More:What the Green Bay Packers are getting in Iowa edge rusher Lukas Van Ness

Campbell is one of the most decorated defenders in the Kirk Ferentz era. He's a two-time first-team All-Big Ten selection and last season completed a historic award sweep including unanimous All-American honors, the Butkus Award for the nation's top linebacker, the Campbell Trophy for the best combination of academics, community service, and on-field performance in the country along with Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year and Linebacker of the Year.

On the field, Campbell's final 2022 stat line read as followed: 125 total tackles, 5.5 tackles for loss and two interceptions. Perhaps the biggest step forward he took was in leadership, he was team captain and often times served as the vocal leader for the team. Campbell delivered several memorable postgame press conferences, including publicly defending Iowa's struggling offense after tough losses.

Another shining moment for Campbell came at the NFL Scouting Combine where he had one of the best performances of the draft class, regardless of position. Per ESPN Next Gen Stats, Campbell was the most athletic linebacker in the field. His Relative Athletic Score of 9.98 is the seventh-highest score since 1987.

More:What NFL analysts are saying about Lukas Van Ness' selection to the Green Bay Packers

Now, Campbell is headed to Detroit as a projected central piece to that defense. He comes from a storied tradition of linebackers at Iowa and perhaps the best of all is expected to continue his excellent play at the professional level.

"He has one thing you want, length (6-foot-5) at the inside linebacker position," said ESPN Draft analyst Mel Kiper Jr. "Which can be disruptive to the quarterbacks, It's always it's hard to find those kinds of guys."