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Colts Have Potential Game-Breaker In Speedy Wide Receiver Parris Campbell

What exactly are the Colts getting in Parris Campbell, how does he fit into Frank Reich’s system and where does he need to grow?

Andy Lyons | Getty Images

INDIANAPOLISSome might call it a dream.


And that vision is getting closer to being a reality.


Back in February, the dream Frank Reich was having during the NFL Combine occurred while watching Parris Campbell work out.


The 4.31 40-yard dash from Campbell---the fastest of any wide receiver---was a large chunk of the story.


But Reich’s infatuation with what Campbell was doing extended into the positional drills down on the Lucas Oil turf.


Reich was seeing an electric prospect, with rare speed, excel in route tree drills that could lead to his further development at the next level.


After selecting Campbell with the 59th overall pick last week, Chris Ballard looked at Reich and the two reminisced about that February day inside their home building.


“His combine workout was incredible,” Ballard said of Campbell. “He was used primarily as a slot at Ohio State. At the Combine you saw him do things that you never really got to see him do just because of the way they used him, as a route runner, his hands.


“I know Frank got intoxicated with him just running around our turf during the combine. He is an exciting player for us.”


A nodding Reich is quite eager to see Campbell operate in his offense.


“You’ve got a guy who was a former running back, but has wide receiver skill and runs 4.31. Every time he touches the ball he’s a threat to go the distance,” Reich says of the new pass catcher.


“It will be fun to see him develop.”


There is some necessary growth in Campbell’s game for him to truly become a complete receiver.


Urban Meyer and Ohio State used Campbell more in the slot/h-back role, similar to Meyer’s role for Percy Harvin at Florida.


Campbell was a high school running back who redshirted as a 17-year-old freshman---in the same recruiting class as Malik Hooker---as he transitioned to becoming a receiver.


What Ohio State quickly found out was they had a playmaker who needed to touch the football.


Whether it was as a kick returner, on jet sweeps or catching screens, Campbell had the ability to change the game with a single touch.


In 2018, Campbell had 3 catches for more than 40 yards. But two of those grabs came behind the line of scrimmage.


It shows just how electric of a player the Colts have drafted. On a very high percentage throw/toss, Campbell can turn it into a game-changing play.


The risk of needing Andrew Luck to take a 5 or 7-step drop, plus having the offensive line hold up for that time and then still hit on an over-the-top chunk to T.Y. Hilton takes a lot of moving parts.


A simple dump pass to Campbell in space, on a drag or rub route, can potentially achieve the same amount of yardage.


Last season, finding more yards after catch was something the Colts did not get enough of from their skill group.


Campbell should change that.


While the Colts will try to round out Campbell’s route tree, this is a guy who still set an Ohio State single-season record with 90 catches last season.


The Colts will now welcome Campbell into an offense that is without an underneath target who can create chunk plays on his own, post-catch.


“With a guy like Andrew Luck who can toss the ball all around the field, he is one of the greats in the NFL, I think it couldn’t be a more perfect fit,” Campbell says of him being drafted by the Colts.


“Honestly, with all the stuff, the intermediate stuff I do and just my ability just being a perfect match for their offense, (I just thought) it would be a great fit.”


And so did Reich and the Colts.


Post-Draft Stories

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