When the Lions made Iowa linebacker Jack Campbell the first off-ball linebacker taken in the 2023 NFL Draft at No. 18 overall, the assumption by many was that he would be starting as a rookie next to Alex Anzalone and Malcolm Rodriguez in Detroit. According to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press, those assumptions may have been a bit premature.
Lions linebackers coach Kelvin Sheppard asserted earlier this month that, in Detroit, they intend to start the best players. Aside from Anzalone and Rodriguez, Derrick Barnes is the team’s top returning linebacker. He was third in the position room in tackles and started four games for the Lions last year.
Sheppard would very much like Campbell to slot in as a starting linebacker, but he made it clear that Barnes is not going to go away quietly. While Rodriguez deals with a leg injury, Barnes has worked with the first team alongside Anzalone this spring. If Campbell is going to break the starting lineup in Week 1, he’s going to have to show that he can outperform Barnes. Until then, he is going to have to continue in his rookie development.
Here are a few other rumors from the NFC North, starting with a position battle out in the Windy City:
- The Bears finished last in the league last year in team sacks with 20 total for the season. Their prospects in 2023 may not be much brighter. According to Patrick Finley of the Chicago Sun-Times, Dominique Robinson and Trevis Gipson will be competing for a starting spot at defensive end this summer. Robinson had 1.5 sacks in the season opener last year but failed to register another for the rest of the season. Gipson racked up two sacks in Week 2 of 2022 but only had one the rest of the year. As of right now, one of those two will be starting next season. Chicago would either like to see improvement in their production this year or would like to sign another end to provide more competition.
- Vikings first-round pick Jordan Addison‘s rookie development has been put on hold a bit as he deals with a minor injury, according to ESPN’s Kevin Seifert. Head coach Kevin O’Connell said that he expects Addison to be fully recovered by training camp. In the meantime, Addison has reportedly been “asking great questions” and been “phenomenal in meetings” as he continues to learn.
- While former Vikings running back Dalvin Cook‘s free agency has been the story as of late, he has experienced some recent legal victories, according to Mike Florio of NBC Sports. Back in November of 2021, Gracelyn Trimble sued Cook for injuries from alleged assault, battery, and false imprisonment. Cook filed a counterclaim against Trimble accusing her and her lawyers of invasion of privacy and defamation. While both cases are still pending, Cook’s complaint will go to trial, which could lead to positive outcomes for both cases.