The 2019 NFL Draft is stacked to the brim with talented wide receivers, and the New England Patriots should be in the market to add at least one high-profile pass catcher. While several players could come aboard and immediately contribute, it’s hard to find a better fit than Ohio State’s Parris Campbell. Campbell is one of the best athletes in the draft and possesses a lot of the traits New England looks for in a wide receiver.
New England Patriots 2019 NFL Draft Targets: Parris Campbell
Parris Campbell spent four years at Ohio State and ended his collegiate career on a high note. Appearing in all 14 games, Campbell recorded 90 receptions for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns. While he didn’t return kicks as a senior, the Ohio native returned a combined 30 kicks for 913 yards during his collegiate tenure.
Campbell is unquestionably one of the best athletes in the 2019 NFL Draft. The NFL hopeful put together a fantastic performance at the NFL Combine, finishing in the 90th percentile for the broad jump, vertical jump, 20-yard shuttle, and 40-yard dash. It’s one thing to have the raw traits, but Campbell’s film shows a player capable of harnessing his athletic gifts on the field.
Campbell was a big-play machine throughout his final year in college, as evidenced by his 11.8 yards-per-reception. He could beat defenses over the top with speed while simultaneously using his natural fluidity to get open in the short and intermediate portions of the field. As if that wasn’t enough, Campbell has the size and strength to outmuscle defenders in the red zone, as evidenced by his 12 touchdown receptions.
On top of all that, Campbell also has the ability to line up all over the formation. During his time at Ohio State, Campbell played outside and in the slot. Versatility is one of Bill Belichick’s favorite traits, and Campbell has the raw tools to play a variety of roles.
While Campbell is a fantastic athlete, he’s far from a polished product. The Ohio State product isn’t a developed route runner and relies on his athletic traits to beat coverages. That was good enough to work in college, but it might not be enough to consistently win in the NFL.
NFL.com’s Lance Zierlein compares Campbell to former star wide receiver Percy Harvin. Harvin had similar athleticism combined with a decent route tree, so it’s easy to see where that comparison comes from. However, players like Cordarrelle Patterson and Tavon Austin have similar athletic gifts but never had the route-running prowess to develop into consistent NFL weapons.
There’s not much to dislike about Ohio State’s Parris Campbell. Campbell is an athletic freak capable of getting open on every level of the field. He can beat defenses over the top with speed, while his size and natural movements let him win in the short and intermediate levels of the field. He has the build to haul in contested catches and the all-around skillset to be a monster after the catch.
The biggest strike against Campbell is that he’s still an unpolished route runner. Campbell’s raw athleticism allowed him to win just about every route he ran against collegiate-level talent. That won’t be the case in the NFL, as more cornerbacks will be able to match his athleticism. If he’s to reach his full potential, Campbell will need to work on running tighter, crisper routes.
Campbell has the chance to be one of the most dangerous and electrifying receivers in football if everything breaks right. However, he also carries one of the safest floors of any prospect. Campbell is dangerous any time he touches the ball and can contribute through scheme a la Cordarrelle Patterson. Factor in his special teams prowess and you have a week-in, week-out contributor. No matter how he develops, Campbell should be a valuable part of an offense for the life of his rookie contract.
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