Could Iowa’s Jack Campbell be the Seahawks’ next great linebacker?

Apr 21, 2023, 9:24 AM

Seahawks draft Jack Campbell...

Iowa LB Jack Campbell against Northwestern on Oct. 29, 2022. (Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via AP)

(Joseph Cress/Iowa City Press-Citizen via AP)

The Seattle Seahawks entered the offseason in a bad way at inside linebacker, especially with Jordyn Brooks having torn his ACL late in the 2022 season and Cody Barton leaving in free agency.

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The Seahawks did address that position in free agency, signing 2019 first-round pick Devin Bush and reuniting with franchise legend Bobby Wagner, but both are on one-year deals.

With Seattle armed with two picks in each of the first two rounds of next week’s NFL Draft, former NFL quarterback Brock Huard thinks the Hawks could add to that inside linebacker spot early. If that happens, he has his eyes set on one of college football’s top performers from the last two seasons.

“Jack Campbell was the Butkus Award winner of this last season. Devin Bush was a number of years ago out of Michigan. That is the top linebacker in America,” Huard said during Thursday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports.

Campbell shined at Iowa in his college career, earning Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year honors in 2022 along with being named a unanimous All-American.

Campbell is a big linebacker at 6 foot 5 and 249 pounds, and he’s someone who greatly improved his draft stock at the NFL Scouting Combine.

“At 6-5, 249, he went to the combine and that is where he went, for me, from an intriguing good (selection) to a great pick,” Huard said. “Because when you jump 37.5 inches inches at 250 pounds, that says something to me. When you run 4.65 (seconds in the 40-yard dash) with a 1.59 (10-yard) start, that says something to me.”

Campbell had elite production at Iowa, tallying 265 tackles, nine tackles for loss, seven pass breakups and four interceptions over his final two seasons.

“He is a stat-stuffer. I love that as well,” Huard said.

Campbell reminds Huard of longtime Seahawks linebacker K.J. Wright because of big size, better speed than expected and great awareness on the field.

“(Wright) became a stalwart … (Campbell is) not as long – he’s a little bit thicker, he’s a little bit taller than KJ – but the same kind of just awareness,” he said.

Huard also noted that in addition to being the best linebacker in the country with the Butkus Award, Campbell was the William V Campbell Award winner, which is essentially the Heisman but for academics.

“Smart guy, too,” he said.

Campbell profiles as a starting MIKE middle linebacker in the NFL, and Huard thinks he could come in and push Wagner and learn from the future Hall of Famer if he gets taken by the Seahawks.

As for where the Hawks could take him, Huard thinks Campbell will be a second-round selection next week.

“Most mocks have him (going in the) 40s or 50s,” Huard said. “This is a guy that when (Seahawks general manager) John Schneider says yesterday, ‘Man, we are doing our work in the second round,’ that’s where Bobby Wagner went in that second round, that’s where Jarran Reed went, that’s where Frank Clark went. That’s where there has been rich difference-making starter and Pro Bowl guys in that second round in this organization. And Jack Campbell, to me, when I put the stat-stuffing together – as I said, nearly 300 tackles, Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year, five interceptions the last two years – I love that awareness.”

Listen to Huard’s latest Seattle Seahawks draft profile at this link or in the player below.

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Could Iowa’s Jack Campbell be the Seahawks’ next great linebacker?