On the second day of media availability at the 2019 NFL Combine, three of Ohio State’s offensive leaders from the 2018 season talked about their time in Columbus, their draft preparations, and what types of players they plan to be in the NFL.
Quarterback Dwayne Haskins and wide-receivers Parris Campbell and Johnnie Dixon are all in different positions as they work their way through the draft process. Haskins is considered a sure-fire, early-first round pick, while Campbell is considered a top-5 wide receiver talent. Dixon, on the other hand — with his history of injuries in college — is currently projected to be a late pick or unsigned free agent.
On Friday, Haskins discussed how important it was for him to learn how to play the quarterback position from J.T. Barrett, and addressed whether Kyler Murray’s outspoken desire to be the first quarterback taken is something that he worries about.
Campbell talked about the influence that new OSU wide receiver coach Brian Hartline had on his development as a pass-catcher, and Dixon talked about how the focus on things outside of football made a huge difference to his development as a person and his love of the university and the football program.
Land-Grant Holy Land and Bleeding Green Nation’s Alexis Chassen was on the scene in Indianapolis to get video and quotes from the former Buckeye stars.
Q: Is your route-running something you have to work on?
A: Honestly, I wouldn’t say so just because at Ohio State I wasn’t asked to run a variety of routes, which is just playing the H position. But tomorrow I get a chance to put those outside routes on film, allow those coaches to see them, that’ll be a huge positive for me.
(Campbell joked about trying to link up with Dwayne Haskins during the on-field drills, saying they have a little code for the other to step up. He knows it probably won’t happen that way, but it would obviously be an advantage for the two to be able to utilize their familiarity during drills.)
Q: How much work have you put into improving your hands and how confident are you that they’re up to standards?
A: I’m extremely confident. From this past season alone, I think my improvement has shown. Through this whole process I’ve continued to work, never lost that. But again, tomorrow’s another chance for me to show the improvement, and I’m confident in that as well.
Q: How do you improve your hands?
A: Repetition. You know, if you want to jump high, you have to jump. If you want to catch, you’ve gotta catch. But, just for myself, I try to replicate those complicated catches, the tough catches, not just standing in front of the Juggs machine. I try to work on over the shoulder catches, working on throw-bys, and over the shoulders — things of that nature.
I just try to make it complicated to try and see the ball from every angle, so that way when I’m in the situation, I’ve seen every angle, seen every catch, and that way it becomes natural to me.
Q: How much does accuracy from a QB make a difference?
A: It’s been huge for me. Dwayne, the things he brought to our offense last year, it was huge, not just for myself, but the wide receivers across the board. Being able to have the accuracy that he did, throwing a catchable, on-time ball every single time like he did, it makes it easy for us. He got the ball to us quick and fast, and allowed us to do what we do with the ball in our hands.
Q: On his ability to read coverages thanks to playing at Ohio State.
A: Just from this past year, working with Coach Hartline, he brought a whole new aspect to my game. He played this great game at the highest level for 7-8 years and excelled at it, so just what he brought back to our receiver room and reading different coverages whether it’s inside or outside, it just brought a whole new life to it. I’m confident in my ability to read defenses now and looking for little tells.
Q: When you think back at these last few years, what do you think?
A: It’s just a blessing, nothing short of a blessing.
Q: What do you need to show this weekend?
A: I think I just need to show that I can run every route in the route tree, that’s something that I haven’t been able to put on film completely, so that’s one of the things. To show them that I am fast.
Q: Have you talked to Green Bay at all?
A: No, I haven’t.
Q: Talk about Ohio State, and what it’s meant to you on and off the field.
A: Ohio State, the biggest thing when I came out of high school, I wanted to be a part of something that was gonna lead me further than just football itself. Every time I got an interview and they asked why Ohio State, I told them it was the job fair and things like that, it sets you up because at any time, this game can be taken away from you.
So, I think that’s one of the biggest things when you’re looking at a school and it’s just gonna be football, because in a blink of an eye, you can be out of there, and you want to have something set for you once you’re done.
Q: Your goals for this weekend?
A: To show teams that I’m a durable player, and I can go out there and run any route, and that I am actually fast.
Chassen: How was the wide receiver room different under Brian Hartline?
A: I don’t know, I don’t really want to talk about comparisons of that. But he just brought something different to the room. He’s played at the highest level, so he brought something different, a different approach I would say. It was easy for us to follow him because we know where he was at.
Chassen: Was he able to prepare you for this weekend?
A: Yeah, I think we’ve been really well-prepared even before you had to go in a room and prep for things like that; we were prepared from Day 1.
Chassen: Did you meet with the Eagles yet?