Parris Campbell, Ohio State Wide Receivers Improve Their Draft Stock at NFL Scouting Combine

By Dan Hope on March 2, 2019 at 11:28 pm
Parris Campbell

INDIANAPOLIS – In the weeks and days leading up to his on-field workout at the 2019 NFL Scouting Combine, Ohio State wide receiver Parris Campbell expressed confidence that he was one of the fastest players in this year’s draft.

“I can guarantee a fast time for myself,” Campbell said Friday. “I know I'm a fast runner. That's one of my attributes. Just got to be critical about my details and my start. Drive, phase, finish. I'm extremely confident in myself for sure."

Campbell backed that confidence up on Saturday.

The former Buckeye completed the 40-yard dash in 4.31 seconds, tying Massachusetts receiver and fellow Northeast Ohio native Andy Isabella for the fastest time among not only all wide receivers, but all offensive players.

Campbell’s 4.31-second 40 is tied for the fastest 40 ever run by a former Ohio State player with Curtis Samuel, who ran the same time in 2017 and went on to be a second-round pick in that year’s draft.

It even landed Campbell a shoutout on Instagram from fellow St. Vincent–St. Mary High School alumnus LeBron James.

It wasn’t only the 40 where Campbell shined on Saturday. He also tied for the fastest 20-yard shuttle among wide receivers, showing his change-of-direction quickness by completing that drill in 4.03 seconds. His 11-foot-3 broad jump was the third-longest leap among receivers, while his 40-inch vertical jump was the fifth-highest.

All together, Campbell proved he is one of the best athletes in the 2019 NFL draft.

Before his senior season, when Campbell caught 90 passes for 1,063 yards and 12 touchdowns to set Ohio State’s single-season receptions record, he faced questions about his hands and had a reputation for untimely drops. But Campbell had no such issues during pass-catching drills on Saturday, excelling in that phase of his workout as well, demonstrating that his elite athleticism translates into his skill set as a receiver.

Campbell was already projected as an early-round pick going into Saturday’s workout, but now, he’s likely ensured that he will be selected no later than the second round – and it’s possible his tremendous display of athleticism could propel him into the late first round, as ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. projected back in January.

As great as Campbell was, he wasn’t the only Ohio State wide receiver who excelled on Saturday. Terry McLaurin built off his excellent week at the Senior Bowl with another great performance in his combine workout, highlighted by a 4.35-second 40-yard dash, the fifth-fastest time among all wide receivers.

According to Rotoworld’s Josh Norris, McLaurin tied with Campbell and three other wide receivers for the fastest 10-yard split, 1.45 seconds.

McLaurin also had the sixth-fastest time among wide receivers in the 20-yard shuttle (4.15 seconds), the ninth-best broad jump (10 feet, 5 inches), the 12th-fastest 3-cone drill (7.01 seconds) and tied for 13th in the vertical jump (37.5 inches). Like Campbell, McLaurin was also fluid running routes and catching throws in the on-field pass-catching drills.

Before the Senior Bowl, it seemed likely that McLaurin wouldn’t be selected until the later rounds of the draft. With his excellent showings in Mobile and now in Indianapolis, though, McLaurin looks as though he could now be on track to be a top-100 draft pick, likely in the second or third round.

All three Ohio State wide receivers at the combine had strong showings on Saturday, as Johnnie Dixon also had an impressive performance, highlighted by a 4.41-second 40-yard dash, the eighth-fastest time among all wide receivers.

Like Campbell and McLaurin, Dixon also performed well in the pass-catching portion of the day, snagging the ball cleanly in his hands.

More than any other Ohio State prospect at this year’s combine, Dixon needed to have a good workout to improve his chances of being selected. With his fast 40 time and demonstrated receiving skill, Dixon did exactly that, showing why he could be a potential steal in the later rounds of the draft.

Because the trio of wide receivers had such an excellent day, they almost overshadowed the Heisman Trophy finalist who threw them the ball last season. Unlike his former Ohio State teammates, Dwayne Haskins didn’t run a fast 40-yard dash on Saturday, needing 5.04 seconds to complete his run – the slowest among all quarterbacks.

NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport reported that Haskins was battling leg cramps before running his 40 on Saturday, and will run the 40 again at Ohio State’s pro day on March 20 in hopes of running a faster time. Ultimately, though, Haskins’ 40 time shouldn’t have any real effect on his draft stock, because contrary to the now-infamous remarks made by ESPN's Stephen A. Smith, Haskins is not “more of a runner than a thrower.”

The only part of Haskins’ workout that really mattered on Saturday was how he threw the ball, and the consensus from analysts was that he performed well in that regard, showing the touch, accuracy and deep throwing ability that could make him the top quarterback in the 2019 NFL draft.

Oklahoma quarterback Kyler Murray, Haskins’ top competition to be the first quarterback drafted this year, did not participate in any portion of Saturday’s on-field workouts, choosing to wait to throw and run until Oklahoma’s pro day on March 13.

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