Is this Big Ten linebacker on the Chicago Bears draft radar?

Chicago Bears (Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports)
Chicago Bears (Mandatory Credit: Scott Taetsch-USA TODAY Sports) /

One of the bigger losses to the Chicago Bears last season was losing Roquan Smith.

While the decision was made for reasons other than his on-the-field play, it still leaves big shoes to be filled.

Now, Jack Sanborn did an exceptional job in his rookie season as an undrafted free agent, but that shouldn’t instill the confidence in Chicago’s executives or coaching staff that he’s all they need at that position.

He’s ideally as productive next year, but that production is even more impactful if there’s someone alongside him producing as well.

While Sanborn maybe played better than expected, the Bears still had a defense that offenses rarely found issues scoring on.

Another linebacker on the inside could make it tougher for offenses to have their way with the Chicago Bears’ defense.

Could Jack Campbell be the Chicago Bears linebacker of the future?

One linebacker the Chicago Bears could and should be looking at is Big Ten standout and Iowa Hawkeyes linebacker, Jack Campbell.

Defense & Fumbles Table
TacklesDef IntFumbles
*2019IowaBig TenFRLB22350.00.0000000
2020IowaBig TenSOLB5218293.51.0100.00301
*2021IowaBig TenJRLB1457831403.51.023316.516211
*2022IowaBig TenSRLB1359661255.51.023015.0011001

Campbell has a list of accomplishments, which includes: The Nagurski-Woodson Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year Award and the Butkus-Fitzgerald Big Ten Linebacker of the Year Award.

On top of the Butkus-Fitzgerald and Nagurski-Woodson awards, Campbell has become a household name among Big Ten fans, especially those who reside in the state of Iowa.

In 2021 and 2022, Campbell’s list of trophies is impressive in a conference known for defense-heavy play.

Complete list of Jack Campbell’s awards

  • Butkus Award (2022)
  • William V. Campbell Trophy (2022)
  • Unanimous All-American (2022)
  • Nagurski–Woodson Defensive Player of the Year (2022)
  • Butkus–Fitzgerald Linebacker of the Year (2022)
  • Two-time first-team All-Big Ten (2021, 2022)

To say the linebacker made a name for himself in college would be an understatement.

The 6-foot-5, 246-pound linebacker is one who could step into Halas Hall and immediately make his presence known to both teammates and opposing players.

He’s not a linebacker who will result in many sacks, having just two in his final two seasons combined, but what he does well is a much longer list.

At his size, he plays the game incredibly quickly, sideline-to-sideline. And when he makes contact with the opposition, they feel it.

He’s a big, stout linebacker that fills a big need for the Chicago Bears.

Campbell is one of the top linebackers in this draft class, however — depending on the potential haul for the No. 1 pick that’s likely to be traded — it’s certainly possible Jack Campbell continues his football career in the Windy City.

The current regime has commented on their evaluation of the value placed on linebackers like Roquan Smith, however, if they can get Campbell with a mid-second-round pick, it’s hard to see them passing on him.

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That’s nowhere near the No. 8 pick, like Roquan Smith was, so the value isn’t that high.

There are plenty of holes to fill for the Chicago Bears, surely, but eventually, Campbell can’t continue being passed on.