Rookie linebacker Jack Campbell's first NFL preseason game with the Detroit Lions was far removed from something he would consider meaningless.
Last Friday night's game against the New York Giants was an important addition to Campbell's learning curve.
From his first defensive snap to the roaring fans who had Ford Field rocking from start to finish, every moment was important to Campbell.
There is far more to come for a player the Lions drafted in the first round and 18th overall, but all the steps count in his progression.
"I want to dip my toe in the water – get a sense of what gameday in the NFL is like," Campbell said. "I feel like it's crucial for me.
"I feel like I'm just looking forward to seeing what this defense is going to be this season. We've got a lot of guys who are putting in a lot of work."
At 6-5 and 243 pounds, Campbell has size, range and agility.
Campbell played 25 (42 percent) of the Lions' defensive snaps against the Giants. He had four tackles -- two solo, two assists. He was in on both tackles when the defense stopped the Giants on consecutive plays when the Giants had third and one and fourth and one.
"I thought he did some really good things," head coach Dan Campbell said Monday, after viewing the game tape. "I thought he was physical, I thought he saw it.
"There are things as he goes – just cut it loose. He sees it. Just pull the trigger a little bit faster.
"He's a smart player, and every time he goes, he gets in that environment, he'll get better and better."
As a four-year player and two-year starter at Iowa, Campbell is used to playing in front of large, raucous crowds.
View photos from Day 14 of Detroit Lions training camp on Monday August 14, 2023.
He was impressed by what he saw – and heard – from the crowd of 48,872 who showed up at Ford Field for the Lions-Giants game.
"It was phenomenal," Jack Campbell said. "I already love Detroit so much.
"We're going to keep this thing rolling."