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Know Your Enemy: Indianapolis Colts Wide Receiver, Parris Campbell

As the opposing offense gets a little healthier, we look at the guy trying to replace T.Y.

NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Los Angeles Chargers Jake Roth-USA TODAY Sports

T.Y. Hilton is officially out for the Indianapolis Colts when they travel to face the Tampa Bay Buccaneers this weekend. Bad news for Jacoby Brissett, but good news for Carlton Davis III and the rest of the secondary.

Good news for the Colts and not so much for the Bucs, is the apparent return of running back Marlon Mack and wide receiver Parris Cambell. Both of these young players are considered pretty important when it comes to determining just how successful this franchise can be in the post-Luck era, and both have missed significant time due to injuries.

Truth be told, I had circled offensive lineman Quenton Nelson for this week’s focal point, but Evan Winter already did a pretty solid write-up of the Nelson vs Vita Vea match-up coming up.

So, I called an audible. And since most Buccaneers fans probably know who Marlon Mack is pretty well, I figured we’d take a look at one of the wide receivers hoping to get a win despite missing Hilton.

Let’s get to know, Parris Campbell.


NCAA Football: Big Ten Conference-Football Championship-Northwestern vs Ohio State Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

As a wide receiver in Columbus, Ohio for THE Ohio State Buckeyes, Parris Campbell spent his four years in scarlet and grey catching 143 passes, gaining 1,978 scrimmage yards, and scoring seventeen total touchdowns including twelve in his Senior season.

He also finished with a career kick return average of 30.4 yards per return. As expected, he entered the draft process as a guy known more for his speed than anything, and he didn’t disappoint by turning in a 4.31 40-time in the city he’d eventually call his first professional home.

Selected in the second round by the Indianapolis Colts, Campbell will look to become the second Buckeyes receiver taken in the second round of more recent drafts to put up first round production, following Michael Thomas of the New Orleans Saints.


NFL: Indianapolis Colts at Pittsburgh Steelers Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

Because of injuries, Campbell has only appeared in six of his team’s twelve games so far this season. In those, he’s brought in five catches for 115-yards and one touchdown with his longest catch going for 22-yards.

He’s also fumbled the ball three times and has lost one of those.

Like the Colts, his season isn’t going as well as he’d hoped it would entering the year. Losing a Hall of Fame bound quarterback will do that. Suffering injuries will only make it worse.

But all is not lost for the team, and for Campbell to salvage this year into one they can be proud of moving into 2020, and build on for the future.

In his last outing, coming in Week 9 against the Pittsburgh Steelers, Campbell had his best game as a pro. He caught five passes - matching his season high - and racked up 53-yards. He also added 27-yards on the ground coming off three carries.

Of course, he also broke his hand and would go on to miss the next four games, watching his 5-3 squad morph into a 6-6 one.

Now, in his return, he’ll be looking to pick up where he left off.



4.31 in the 40-yard dash is a time most NFL receivers would be happy with. Whether he’s wearing pads or not, Campbell is fast. This is going to stress the Buccaneers secondary and challenge guys like Carlton Davis III, Mike Edwards and Sean Murphy-Bunting on the snaps they find themselves lined up across from him.

Jamel Dean’s speed is better suited for covering Campbell, but unless the Bucs plan on having their corner’s follow one man all afternoon, the other defensive backs are going to have to find ways to combat his speed and win their match-ups.


Campbell has the ability to make plays down field, in the short area of the field, in between and as a runner. There is no situation where a defender can simply know what to expect from him as an opponent, so the only predictability would come from coaches.

Knowing your opponent is so versatile can do two things. It can keep a defender on their toes, but it can also make a defender antsy to make a play and get caught out of position in a bad way.

Discipline in the secondary and strong communication in zone will be absolutely critical to keep Campbell from making impact plays.



Campbell is coming back. But how healthy is he? That’s a big question and a big factor into this whole thing. His hand is broken. I’m sure he’ll be able to tough his way through it, but when a receiver has a compromised hand trying to catch footballs and fight off defenders, it’s going to matter. The question is, how much will it matter?


The Tampa Bay Buccaneers defense has been super opportunistic as of late, and they love getting turnovers. What defenders don’t?

Campbell isn’t the only guy with wheels, and while his straight line speed is elite, while he’s navigating through traffic there are some guys who can come up quickly from behind and will be looking to punch the ball out whenever they can. Devin White and Lavonte David are two of them. And if I were Campbell I would have an internal clock with the ball in my hands to get up field or get down.

Campbell is no Hilton. This much is sure. And he’s not even going to be considered the number one receiver in this offense coming into this game. But given the growth he’s shown on the field and within the system despite his injuries, Campbell is certainly a guy to keep an eye on as a fan watching the game, and a defender playing it.

No. 15 for the Indianapolis Colts is someone you can be sure the Tampa Bay Buccaneers have been busy studying. And now, you know a little more about him as well.