When NFL front office personnel, coaches or scouts came to Iowa asking about what kind of player they'd be getting if they drafted linebacker Jack Campbell, Hawkeyes head coach Kirk Ferentz had a simple response for them.
"What I did tell people in the NFL when they came through was that the one thing I can feel pretty confident in saying is whoever drafts him isn't going to let him leave the building over the next 10 years," Ferentz said in a Zoom call Friday, one day after the Lions made Campbell the No. 18 pick in the first round.
"Because it's one thing to get a really good football player, it's another thing to get a guy who really adds value in so many other areas and I think that's what Jack does. That's just how he's wired."
The Lions learned that for themselves when they sat down with Campbell for a formal interview at the Combine. Lions linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard said it was the most passionate interview he's ever been a part of as a coach. Campbell said it was fun to sit down with like-minded people in Lions GM Brad Holmes, head coach Dan Campbell and the rest of the coaching staff.
Campbell certainly seems like a perfect fit in Detroit both on and off the field.
On it, he's a two-time captain and defending Butkus Award winner as the top linebacker in college football. He's 6-foot-5, 249 pounds with terrific burst, athleticism and production. His 6.74 three-cone and 4.24 short shuttle were No. 1 among linebackers at the Combine. He ran the 40 in 4.65 seconds at nearly 250 pounds, and he racked up 271 tackles, nine tackles for loss, four interceptions and 11 passes defended the last two seasons combined.
Off the field, Campbell fits what it is to be a Dan Campbell guy through and through. It doesn't take long talking to him to realize he's all about football, accountability and winning, which should certainly endear him to a hard working city like Detroit.
"I feel like I'm going to come in with an attitude," Campbell said in his introductory press conference Friday. "I'm not going to change who I am. I'm going to stay true to myself as Jack Campbell. What worked at Iowa is how I'm going to carry myself here.
"Our linebacker room at Iowa, just our mentality was just that mutt mentality, that mutt that all the little kids walk past because they wanted the new purebred puppies, and that's how I'm going to carry myself here."
View photos of Detroit Lions first-round picks Jahmyr Gibbs & Jack Campbell arriving in Detroit and touring the Allen Park training facility.
Campbell joins a fairly veteran linebacker room led by Alex Anzalone, Malcolm Rodriguez, Derrick Barnes and others. He's expected to compete for an early role, and his size and versatility should allow him to play multiple spots in Aaron Glenn's front-seven schemes.
"I feel like any winning culture from little league to professionals, you just have to have kids that are passionate about what they do and young men that are passionate about what they do," Campbell told detroitlions.com.
"I feel like I put my best foot forward in that (Combine) meeting (with the Lions) and showed them who I am. I didn't change who I was. I was just Jack Campbell and that ultimately got me here, so I'm just going to continue to do that."