Rookie Scouting Report: Wide Receiver Parris Campbell
Parris Campbell, Ohio State
Weight: 205 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.31 seconds
Vertical Jump: 40.0 inches
Broad Jump: 135 inches
3-Cone Drill: N/A
It’s quite odd that Campbell is viewed as a small, gadget-type receiver, but he’s six-feet-tall and 205 pounds. By comparison, Robert Woods is 6-feet-tall and 201 pounds, though he’s not viewed as a gadget player. It comes down to the way Ohio State used Campbell which make people think that, but is there more to his game than work over the middle of the field and in the slot? Campbell popped off a 4.31-second 40-yard dash at the Combine which forced everyone to take notice, as he can rip the top off the defense if you want him to.
After being eased into the lineup his first three seasons, the Buckeyes let Campbell rip with Dwayne Haskins in 2018. He totaled 90 receptions (ranked 8th in the nation) for 1,063 yards (25th in nation) and 12 touchdowns (8th in nation). Clearly, he was a tad underutilized during his first three seasons, though he was used on special teams in the return game during his sophomore and junior seasons. Did Haskins make him look better or was it the other way around?
Size/Versatility: 3.0 out of 5 stars
He’s actually built like a cornerback, as he’s a bit thin through his core for a wide receiver. Played inside the slot almost full-time with Ohio State, though I don’t think he’s built to withstand continuous hits over the middle of the field. The Buckeyes moved him all over the formation, which included reverses, screens, and handoffs, so he’s versatile in that sense. I don’t want to call him a gadget player because he’s more than that, but he’s not someone you’re going to have lining up on the outside if you can help it. He does offer some special teams upside, which does give him a slight uptick in the versatility department.
Route Running/Ability to Separate: 3.0 out of 5 stars
He does have excellent short area burst that allows him to gain separation, though his play speed isn’t quite where it needs to be all the time. He rounds out his breaks a bit more than I’d like for a player his size. He doesn’t run his routes with urgency most of the time but flashes the ability when he chooses. When he does exaggerate his movements, he gains separation. There were just too many times where he ran a simple five-yard out route and just rounded the cut. In the NFL, that’s going to get his quarterback intercepted. When he found himself open, a lot of the time it didn’t have to do with his route-running but more to do with his spot on the field (in the slot) and being mismatched with linebackers or safeties. There is some natural ability to his stop-and-go speed, so it’s possible he just needs a slight bit of refinement and more consistency, though he’s not quite a polished route-runner at this time.
Speed: 4.5 out of 5 stars
I don’t think he plays with consistent 4.31-second speed, even though he is fast. There’s a turbo button he can hit at any minute that allows him to blow by nearly every defender. His speed appears to come effortless, as there’s no laboring through his strides. He’s going to get a very slight knock in this category because I don’t see someone who’s a full-go all the time. While it’s important to use different gears on the field, he’s just going through the motions at times and essentially removing himself from the play. Being a decoy at times because you’re gassed is one thing, but not going all-out when you can is another. When playing at full speed, there aren’t many players who’ll be able to hang with him in coverage.
Hands: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Wasn’t used in a way where we got to see him in many contested catch situations, as he was typically within 10 yards of the line of scrimmage when targeted. Catching 90 balls obviously proves he can be trusted in a heavy role, though it’s tough to say with any certainty that he has elite hands when in contested situations. He did have some issues earlier in his college career, but I’m comfortable saying his hands are not an issue for the role he plays, so he earns an average score here.
Awareness: 4.0 out of 5 stars
He is fully aware of when he needs to use his turbo button in order to beat a defender to the sideline and up the field. He doesn’t overestimate his speed and knows when he needs to use it depending on where the defenders are on the field. He finds the soft spot in zones well, particularly in the deep areas of the field, knowing when to slow his route just enough to sit in the gap of coverage.
After the Catch: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Takes great angles in the open field, which a lot of it comes from his self-awareness. Can almost be treated as a running back at times due to his vision in the open field once he gets through the first line of defense. He’s not going to break many tackles at the pro level, so he’s not elusive in that way, but more slippery than anything. He’s going to create some yardage after the catch due to his speed and it’s not as if he’s a super-small guy at six-foot and 205 pounds, so he won’t be tossed around like a ragdoll, either.
Potential Landing Spot
When looking for his potential suitor, you want to look at teams who are set on the perimeter but may be lacking some explosion out of the slot. Ideally, you have a creative coordinator who can use Campbell in unique ways. The Packers, Lions, Colts, Chiefs, Saints, Raiders, 49ers, and Redskins are all teams who could use a slot receiver or at least upgrade the position. My favorite landing spot would be with the Saints, as Michael Thomas could use a sidekick and they need a field stretcher with Ted Ginn on the final days of his career. While Tre’Quan Smith was drafted last year, he’s more of a perimeter receiver, while Campbell can give them a utility knife to use all over the field, as Sean Payton obviously knows how to utilize speed.
When looking for a comparison for Campbell, I had to go back in time just a bit. Percy Harvin was a great player when used properly. He wasn’t someone who was going to win on the perimeter, but he was a movable chess piece that could be used out of the backfield, in the slot, and had the speed to burn you down the seam. He had a pretty up-and-down career, though a lot of the issues came from the migraines he dealt with throughout his career. Another player you could be reminded of is Santana Moss, who played a long NFL career, though some believed he never reached his full potential.