Why the Slide?: Parris Campbell

Why the Slide?: Parris Campbell, WR, Ohio State
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

Five years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Three years ago, we started the Why the Slide? series, and this year it is back. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at draftcampbell@gmail.com. I can’t promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

The 2019 NFL Draft was known to be a weak year for first-round talent at wide receiver and that played out in the draft as only Oklahoma’s Marquise Brown and Arizona State’s N’Keal Harry were selected in the first round. One receiver that could have gone on the opening night of the draft was Ohio State’s Parris Campbell. Campbell impressed scouts in practice for the Buckeyes before gradually getting more opportunities as a junior and senior. In his final year Campbell recorded 90 receptions for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns. He produced some big, clutch plays for the Buckeyes showing an ability to rip off a long gain anytime he touched the ball. After the season Campbell showed his elite speed with a 4.31 time in the 40-yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine. Yet, he slipped to late in the second round of the 2019 NFL Draft.

In speaking to team sources there were a few technique issues that led to Campbell sliding. Here is what one director of college scouting said about Campbell, “He has unproven hands and route running. Ohio State doesn’t totally use their wide receivers like the NFL does so he wasn’t able to show the entire package, but was productive. He has possible Percy Harvin like upside. He’s a great kid too who will work and is smart.”

The Indianapolis Colts ended Campbell’s fall late in the second round, and that is a tremendous landing spot for him. He goes to one of the best quarterbacks in the NFL in Andrew Luck, and a quality signal-caller always has a huge impact on whether play-makers are successful. The Colts also needed help at wide receiver entering the offseason. Last year, Indianapolis got a lot out of a group that was lacking for talent aside from T.Y. Hilton. Campbell should combine with Hilton and veteran Devin Funchess to provide Luck with more play-making ability next year.

In the long run, Campbell could end up becoming the No. 1 receiver for the Colts as Funchess only signed a 1-year contract and has been inconsistent in his career. Hilton turns 30 during the 2019 season and is in the final two seasons of his contract. Given his size and some injuries in his career, Hilton could slow down before too long. That could lead to the Colts looking at Campbell as their No. 1 of the future if he plays well, so he probably will get plenty of opportunities and targets from Luck. The Colts are one of the best young teams in the NFL, and Campbell could be a centerpiece of the future for them.

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