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NFL Draft Scouting Report: Wide Receiver Parris Campbell

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If the Denver Broncos want an all world athlete, wide receiver Parris Campbell has speed to burn.

NCAA Football: Ohio State at Rutgers
If the Broncos want to add speed to the offense, there’s few better than Campbell in this class.
Noah K. Murray-USA TODAY Sports

I spent last weekend watching every game I could find of Dwayne Haskins and it’s impossible to ignore the weapons he had to throw to. As I’ll get to in GIF Horse, one of the biggest aspects of Haskins game that jumps out at you is his ability as a distributor. That wouldn’t look nearly as good if he wasn’t putting the ball into the hands of players like Parris Campbell.

Campbell is one of the most explosive play-makers in the 2019 Draft.

Scouting Report

-Potential with a capital P.

-Scoring threat every time he has the ball.

-Elusive with the ball in his hands. Know’s how to generate yards.

-Can contribute to special teams in a variety of ways.

-Speed to burn, ridiculous athletic numbers.

-Very fluid.

-Raw route runner, but feels space. Will find holes in zones.

-Needs to continue working on his hands, but they’re active. Has come a long way.

-Did not face much press.

-A vertical threat, but limited tape of him being used to take top off the D.

There are promising moments on tape, but a lot of Campbell’s upside is simply projection right now.

What I’ve heard/read

NFL Draft & Combine Profile - Parris Campbell | NFL.com

”Urban (Meyer) has a system and it works, but it makes it harder to evaluate his receivers. Mike Thomas was just okay in their offense and then he gets to the pros and he’s great. Campbell is kind of raw, but that same thing could happen with him.” -- Personnel executive for AFC team

Parris Campbell WR Ohio State - Draft Player Profile | The Draft Network

A gadget player for much of his time at Ohio State, Campbell finally blossomed into a legitimate wide receiver prospect in 2018, running improved routes and showing off the separation quickness that suggests a decent ceiling. His best trait is his speed and athleticism, but he was rarely used as a vertical threat at Ohio State, operating mostly-short intermediate with the occasional downfield target. Whatever NFL team that drafts him will need to have a little bit of a plan for how to use him best, but Campbell is clearly more than just a specialized package player at this point. His best usage will come in the slot for an offense that likes a multi-layered threat there, while a move to the outside could take some time to develop. Round 1 hype is too much, but Campbell can help a team if his value is assessed correctly.

“A projection player worth the investment” Matt Waldman

Why he fits

Remember when the rumors circulated that the Broncos were considering John Brown or a veteran burner? There are very few players in this class that can come close to matching Campbell’s insane speed and agility. He’ll be a threat to house it on every play if the defense falls asleep and can contribute as a returner from day 1. He’ll also be a weapon on jet action and bubble screens right away.

Why he doesn’t

It’s all projection at this point. The Urban Meyer offense is a weird beast that kind of hides receivers in a lot of ways, and Campbell didn’t run a full route tree or get many true vertical looks despite his speed.

Drafting him carries some risk because he’ll probably need work on route running at the next level and he did not face much press man coverage in school. When he did, it looked like he’d be able to handle it, but he’ll need more exposure to it to master the tricks of the trade. There is not a lot of tape where he’s caught balls in contested situations and there’s been questions about his hands.

Final thoughts

The OSU product reminds you of Percy Harvin when he came out of Florida: he’s a back/receiver hybrid who’s best described as a playmaker. You see the numbers and what he does in space and dream about what he could do as a vertical player, but OSU used him as a focal point in Mesh designs, crossers, and other YAC routes.

He’s sort of an age-old trap: Parris Campbell’s one of those players that gets your imagination running away from you. He shows the traits elite receivers possess but is more tools than tape at this moment. That isn’t necessarily his fault, but the college offense he played in, so the question is whether he can successfully adapt to the NFL with coaching.

I believe he can, but he needs the right guidance and system. If someone like Rich Scangarello can scheme him touches early on he’d be an instant contributor as he learns the finer points of the position. He already looks like he’ll be dangerous with the ball in his hands. Down the road he has the tools to grow into a slot weapon or the heir to Emmanuel Sanders.

Campbell needs the right coaching staff to unlock his potential. Should it be the Broncos?