INDIANAPOLIS – While Parris Campbell was busy dealing with 4 different injuries stunting his rookie season to just 7 games, many of his fellow draftmates were dazzling on playoff teams.
Campbell was one of 12 wide receivers taken in the first three rounds of the 2019 Draft (Campbell went 57th overall, as the 7th wideout drafted).
The Ohio State speedster finished his first NFL season with just 127 total receiving yards and a miniscule 7.06 yards per reception.
The averages among those other wideouts taken in Round 1-3?
521 receiving yards and 14.9 yards per catch.
Even when Campbell was healthy on the field, the big play ability that had the Colts giddy to draft him was barely seen.
Year Two beckons for Campbell as he tries to put the hamstring, hernia (surgery), broken hand (surgery) and broken foot (surgery) behind him.
Obviously, the speed part of Campbell’s game is why the Colts remain bullish on his future.
But that’s just one of the reasons.
“I have high hopes for Parris to stay healthy and have the type of season this year that we all know he is capable of,” offensive coordinator Nick Sirianni says. “Coming out of Ohio State, the thing that we liked the most about Parris, besides the player, besides the speed, besides the dynamic plays he made, it was this guy is a leader. He’s a hard worker.
“Parris understands that, and we’ve talked about keeping his body healthy. A few of his injuries last year were obviously freak injuries that he wants to get past. I can promise you that he’s working as hard as anybody to get past that. I have so much faith in Parris the person, to get past this adversity, and excel in his future because of it. That’s just the type of kid that he is. That’s why we drafted him. He just fit what we envision a Colt being like.”
It’s going to take that self-motivation from Campbell to bounce back from an opening season that could easily alter the NFL path for a 22-year-old.
Campbell says he has been back running routes at 100 percent full speed for the past two months, following a broken foot last December.
The addition of Philip Rivers should be welcomed for a player like Campbell, who is known for his ability with the ball in his hands.
A handful of years down the road, a wideout tandem of Michael Pittman and Campbell leading the Indy receiver group would give the team a duo they’ve struggled to find over the past decade plus.
Even though Campbell’s first professional year was filled with bumps, the Colts are steadfast in their belief.
“I’m super pumped about Parris and where the upside is,” Frank Reich says. “We didn’t get to see him enough (last year). He was hurt a lot. I’m proud of the way Parris has been handling the offseason. He’s been doing everything possible. He’s working out hard. I’m staying very much in touch with him, and with the trainers and what he’s doing and watching that whole process unfold. He’s really determined. He still has to have things go his way and stay healthy. He missed a lot of practice time, too. It wasn’t just that he missed games. He missed a lot of practice time. He missed most of the offseason (program). We didn’t get to see him a ton in the offseason.
“We’ve been around him enough, I see things in Parris, I see really good wide receiver skills. Obviously, we all see the speed, but I think he’s got deceptive power and I think he’s got the footwork to where he can play inside or out. He will play more in the slot this year. But we will move him around, we will move everybody around, that’s just the way we roll. If you play one wide receiver position, you need to play all three because we need to move guys around to scheme things up and do what we do with personnel things and to accentuate what each guy does best. But super excited about Parris and just need to get him on the field so he can develop more as a route runner.”