The Pittsburgh Steelers need linebacker help next season and that is no secret. So far this offseason the team has added linebackers Cole Holcomb and Elandon Roberts to the linebacker room, but also lost/got rid of Robert Spillane, Myles Jack, and Devin Bush. Come the NFL Draft in April an inside linebacker will definitely be in play early, and Fox Sports’ Joel Klatt believes Jack Campbell is the linebacker Pittsburgh should target.
On his show, The Joel Klatt Show for Fox Sports, Klatt listed why he sees Campbell fitting in in the Steel City, and it goes deeper than that he will continue to wear Black and Gold.
“I really think I love the pick Jack Campbell, linebacker for Iowa, going to the Pittsburgh Steelers around 49,” Klatt said. “They have first rounder, two second-round picks, 32 and 49, and I’m looking at Jack Campbell and I’m like ‘Captain Jack in a Steelers uniform makes a lot of sense.’ This guy is big. Listen, I would love if he ran a little bit better, but when you watch the tape he moves better on tape than what he would do in a 40-yard dash. He plays fairly fast. He’s a really smart player. He makes every play you need him to make, he’s a sure tackler, he’s the type of guy that can come in and eventually be the captain of your defense.”
Campbell was a highly productive inside linebacker at Iowa where he finished his four-year career with 305 tackles 13.5 tackles for a loss, three sacks, three forces fumbles, 15 pass breakups, and five interceptions. Campbell also captained the Iowa defense in 2021 and 2022 showing his leadership ability and won the Butkus Award for top linebacker in the nation this past season.
Although he had great production in a Power Five conference, the concern with Campbell is his speed. He ran a 4.65 40-yard dash, which is on the slower side. Can Campbell keep up with the faster tight ends and wide receivers if matched up with them in the NFL? That is yet to be seen, but to Campbell’s credit he is an above-average coverage linebacker, which is something the Steelers need.
Even with the additions the Steelers made at linebacker this offseason, it is not guaranteed any of them pan out. Drafting a successful linebacker like Campbell, who is better in the run game than the pass game, may not be an issue, especially if he becomes an elite run stopper.
While Holcomb and Roberts have shown the ability to stop the run, neither will be mistaken as an elite linebacker. Campbell may never become an elite coverage linebacker, but if he can be above average in coverage and great against the run, no one will stick their nose up at him being a Steeler, especially at pick 49.
If you would like to see a film breakdown of Campbell, Chandler Stroud did one back in January.