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Round 6: DL Will Campbell Will Switch to OL

Posted Apr 27, 2013

Updated, 7:49 p.m. ET

After three straight offensive selections, the Jets went back to the defensive side of the ball with their sixth-round choice, 178th overall, as they drafted Michigan defensive tackle Will Campbell.

The Jets hadn't yet said where they'll line Campbell up, although he's called an OL — offensive lineman — on a team transcript of his conference call with Jets reporters. And he talked on that phonecall about a switch from the defensive line to the offensive line.

"I feel it is," Campbell said of making the transition right now. "Defensive guys can come over and play guard because I played both ways in high school  and the transition was from one series to the next, so I feel like it will be a good transition, with help from the coaches."

And in fact, at Michigan he was assigned to the OL midway through his sophomore season and also served as goal-line fullback. Then when the Wolverines brought in Brady Hoke to be their new head coach in January 2011, Campbell was transferred back to defense.

"I've been playing defensive tackle in college for 3½ years, so I probably would be more comfortable right now as a defensive lineman. But whatever I need to do to make that 53-man roster, I'll do it."

Campbell put together a productive four-year career in Ann Arbor. Although his first collegiate start didn’t come until his senior year, he was an All-Big Ten honorable mention last season. The Detroit native posted a career-high 10 tackles against the Wolverines' biggest rival, Ohio State, last Nov. 24.

Besides being a main contributor on the Wolverines defense, Campbell also helped some on special teams, playing on the field goal protection unit.

When Jets director of college scouting Jeff Bauer visited UM, he got some advice from an unnamed assistant coach about Campbell's possible future.

"One of the coaches said he was playing defensive tackle and that he wasn't the most-gifted pass rusher and he didn't make a lot of plays behind the line of scrimmage," Bauer said. "He said, 'This guy's going to be best as an offensive guard.' That stuck with me. Brandon Moore, who was so good for us, switched over to offensive guard. Our offensive line coach, Mike Devlin, went out to work him out and really thought it was going to be a good fit."

Campbell, 21, arrived at the Wolverines’ training camp for his senior season having dropped 46 pounds. His lost weight clearly improved his speed and agility as he enjoyed his best college season.

Now at 6’5” and 308 pounds, the newest Jet was a decorated high school recruit heading into Michigan. While attending Cass Tech in Detroit, he was voted a Parade Magazine All-American and EA Sports All-America first-teamer.

Campbell said he was getting calls from a lot of teams and didn't sense the Jets were interested in him until they called him. And in that short phonecall, he showed how coachable he is by picking up a key phrase from head coach Rex Ryan.

"When the Jets called, I was happy as could be," he said. "I love to be a Jet. I want to play like a Jet.

Campbell joins LB David Harris as current Jets who played collegiately on Michigan's defense. But now he'll try his hand at offense.

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