With the No. 59-overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft, the Indianapolis Colts picked wide receiver Parris Campbell out of Ohio State. Campbell led the Buckeyes last season in receptions, yards and touchdowns, but what has set Campbell apart is one thing: Speed.
So why should you be excited the Colts picked Campbell? We’ve got you covered:
1. He is really fast
But really. As in the fastest wide receiver and third fastest player at the combine this spring, based on his 4.31-second 40-yard dash time. While that speed likely won’t translate to as much separation as he saw in college, he’ll still be able to beat out most NFL-caliber defensive backs from a pure speed perspective.
Just for fun, check out how Campbell compared to Julio Jones, Odell Beckham Jr. and Antonio Brown in the 40-yard dash:
Beyond his point-to-point speed, Campbell is also extremely agile. His NFL Combine profile cites “light feet” that “dart around defenders looking to impede,” giving him one more advantage when it comes to creating separation.
2. Experience at Lucas Oil Stadium
Campbell isn’t a newbie when it comes to performing well at the Colts’ home at Lucas Oil Stadium. He’s been part of two Big Ten Championship Buckeye squads that were crowned champions in Indy, with Parris having nice performances in both games.
Last year against Northwestern, he hauled in 89 yards on seven catches. The year before against Wisconsin, he had just one catch—but it was a big one going for a 57-yard touchdown.
3. Campbell has a ton of potential in untapped routes
Given that he played primarily in an H-back role, Campbell didn’t get a lot of chances to be the downfield threat that he might have been in a different offensive system. However, that doesn’t mean he isn’t more than capable of filling that void. Have we mentioned his speed yet? That’ll help in enabling Campbell to succeed on longer passing routes. While Campbell will likely still fill a slot receiver role, he has the chance to demonstrate how dynamic he can be at the next level. And he has demonstrated that when he gets the ball, he is able to make plays and convert.
Parris Campbell made the most of every touch this season and led B1G wide receivers with 50 receiving conversions. pic.twitter.com/N74itHWvZk— PFF Draft (@PFF_College) April 17, 2019
4. Improved handling
At the college level, speedy receivers might be able to get away with a few drops. In the pros, however, great speed doesn’t overcome sloppy ball handling. That’s why Campbell, and the other receivers in Ohio State’s corps, spent seemingly all of last summer with the Jugs machine catching balls.
The improvement was noticeable on the field in his final season in Columbus, as Campbell had a career-best 88 receptions -- more than doubling his total from his junior year.
5. Then there’s that special teams bonus
Like many receivers with super speed and yet-to-be-developed route running, Campbell started off his career at Ohio State in the punt and kick return game. During his tenure in Columbus, Campbell averaged 30.4 yards per return on kickoffs, tying an Ohio State record. He electrified the return game with gems like this one against Indiana in 2016:
Campbell will be able to immediately contribute on special teams in the NFL, leveraging his aforementioned speed and demonstrating his ability to flip the field in favor of his offense.
Any concerns about Campbell?
Despite his natural talent, Campbell has been knocked for his lack of blocking. While he definitely has room to improve in this area, it was hard on the field not to draw a direct comparison to Terry McLaurin, who is an outstanding blocking receiver.
It’ll be something for Campbell to work on, but improvement here would make him a top all-around receiver.