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.
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.
“We’re still encouraged by Parris Campbell,” Chris Ballard says. “I think you all saw the potential. Misses most of (last) spring, you saw it early in training camp, then you saw it in the Tennessee game, remember he catches the over in the red zone where he runs away from the slot defender? Then he comes back in Pittsburgh after only four or five days of practice and you saw the explosive element of how he’s doing to add to our offense.
“This is a big offseason because we’ve got to get him healthy, up and going because he’s an important pieces for us going forward.”