Last week, two Iowa Hawkeyes heard their names called in the first round of the 2023 NFL Draft: Lukas Van Ness was selected by the Green Bay Packers and Jack Campbell was picked by the Detroit Lions shortly after. Cedar Falls native Campbell returned from his first meeting and introductory press conference in Detroit to a party in his hometown celebrating his lifelong dream-come-true.

Campbell returned home to find nearly 200 of his friends and family inside Pepper's Grill and Sports Pub in Cedar Falls, per KWWL. His closest kin not only packed the establishment, but decked it out in Honolulu blue and silver (Lions colors), with themed decorations, a cake, and more for the hometown kid.

Campbell told KWWL that he was absolutely surprised and humbled by how many of his friends and family showed up at the bar to celebrate something he worked for his entire life:

It means a lot to me that people came out. I didn't really know this was happening. Just seeing a lot of my old high school coaches, people who have all put into me to allow me to be where I am today, I'm very appreciative of them. - per KWWL

The Cedar Falls native won the Butkus Award last year as the top linebacker in college, and anchored an elite Iowa defense that was best in yards per play average and top five in total defense and defensive efficiency.

Iowa's Jack Campbell at the NFL Combine. Photo Credit: Justin Casterline.
Iowa's Jack Campbell at the NFL Combine. Photo Credit: Justin Casterline.

Jack Campbell should be a great boon to a leaky Detroit defense, which, quite frankly, was the major reason that stopped them from being a playoff squad last year. Campbell should be a plug-and-play kind of linebacker into the Lions' system, which would be ideal given the lofty expectations bestowed upon Detroit for the first time in many, many moons.

Campbell won't be the only incoming Iowan on Detroit's roster either. He joins fellow Iowa teammate Sam LaPorta (a tight end, selected in the second round) and fellow Cedar Falls native Ross Pierschbacher, a former Alabama Crimson Tide guard who joined Detroit last season.

Among other Iowa players to hear their name called in the first round of this year's NFL Draft was Will McDonald IV, who was selected by the New York Jets after Van Ness and before Campbell. McDonald played for the Iowa State Cyclones.

All together, four Hawkeyes and three Cyclones were selected over the course of 259 picks in this year's draft. Also selected in the seventh round by the Los Angeles Chargers was Council Bluffs native and TCU quarterback Max Duggan.


Iowa Born Sports Stars

What do each of these stellar athletes have in common? They all hail from the Hawkeye State.

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