Entering the off-season, nobody thought wide receiver would even be an area of conversation for the upcoming NFL Draft. After the losses of DeSean Jackson and Adam Humphries however, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are missing some reliable fire power for quarterback Jameis Winston.
The team has already addressed this area of the roster a little bit with the signing of wide receiver Breshad Perriman.
While the former first-round pick will look to pick-up where he left off after a solid showing in Cleveland last season, we’d be off the mark if we called the Bucs’ wide receiver group a done deal.
Outside of Mike Evans, Chris Godwin and Perriman there is very little impactful NFL experience on the roster here.
Speaking of impactful, if there’s one thing Ohio State Buckeyes know how to be, it’s just that.
Could one of them bring his talents to Tampa Bay later this month? Let’s dive in and take a closer look at wide receiver, Parris Campbell.
Parris Campbell’s Career
Campbell is an Akron native, so it’s no surprise he chose to attend Ohio State when presented with the opportunity.
Even as a freshman, his potential and speed had fans around the program excited for what might become of the wide receiver.
As he leaves the program, he does so with 143-receptions, over 1,700-yards and 15 receiving touchdowns.
He also tacked on two rushing scores during his time in Columbus and averaged more than 30-yards per return as a kickoff return specialist in his Sophomore and Junior seasons.
In his final year with the Buckeyes, Campbell finished Top-10 in receptions in the country and Top-5 in the B1G in receptions, receiving yards, touchdown catches and total scores.
He established himself as a playmaker and landed in early draft speculation as a day-two prospect.
At 6’ he’s not towering, but he’s not small either. He’s got size and playing strength enough to challenge press corners and isn’t afraid to engage in close combat when necessary.
His speed will give quarterbacks an easy read as opposing defenses who choose to play close to the line of scrimmage will have to provide top-coverage against him. Likewise, when corners are forced to back-off in anticipation of speed, he’ll have plenty of room to set up defenders and gain separation with quick cuts and good acceleration out of breaks.
Has special teams experience and knows how to work his way up a depth chart. Unselfish player who will assume return duties if asked to while carving out a more permanent role as a featured member of the offense.
Wasn’t able to showcase a full stock of moves and route abilities playing at Ohio State. This isn’t new, as many receivers coming out of the Buckeyes program have been undersold.
Relies on speed and acceleration a bit too much at times and will forgo setting up his defenders with body positioning, foot work and route fakes. At the NFL level, this is going to catch up to him more than it did in college.
Struggled through his collegiate career with drops at times. Got better as his game developed, but it’s still a concern.
Why the Buccaneers Need Him
Campbell can work the short area of the field out of the slot or stretch the field as a perimeter threat. He can take a crossing route from one side of the field to the other before his quarterback gets out of rhythm or carry and end-around for big gains.
He’s not a number-one receiver as a rookie. But as a solid member of a trio with Evans and Godwin, he’d be more than effective.
Where Campbell is raw in his ability to manipulate defenders, Bruce Arians and Byron Leftwich can do some heavy lifting with play design and alignments.
His ability to play special teams and presence of Perriman means the team can use him as a returner without losing speed on the field if Campbell needs a breather following long or big returns.
A four-wide formation with Evans, Godwin, Perriman and Campbell would keep defensive coordinators up nights and make Jameis Winston a franchise keystone.
Will It Happen?
Probably not. Campbell has done nothing but help his draft stock and I’ve recently seen him mocked as high as Baltimore in the first-round. Unless the Buccaneers trade someone or something for an extra second-round pick, there’s almost no chance he’s available in a situation where Tampa Bay might feel comfortable drafting a receiver considering how much help they need on defense currently.
Still, seeing a weapon like Campbell and knowing just what unlocking his potential might mean to the offense, if Arians wants him in the second-round Licht will likely give it to him.
If the Buccaneers landed three players in the Top-50, they could do a lot worse than Campbell being one of them. Even if his draft investment is a little rich considering the level of need for the franchise.