Parris Campbell is a favorite of the rookie wide receiver class in the dynasty fantasy football community. Here is why I won’t have any shares.
I recently wrote about how I thought that the dynasty fantasy football community was far too low on Terry McLaurin. Parris Campbell is the opposite for me. It’s not that I don’t like Parris Campbell. I just don’t like him as much of the dynasty fantasy football community seems to. I think that he is more projection than people like to admit, and I’m not sure how well his combination of traits translate to the NFL level.
With that said, there is obviously significant upside with Campbell. His athleticism and production are fantastic. He has the speed to run past just about anybody he lines up against and is a monster after the catch. There is obviously a lot to like about Campbell, and he has tantalizing traits.
Theoretically, you hope that Parris Campbell becomes a player like Tyreek Hill. Explosive, a threat with the ball in his hands, a dynamic route runner that is capable of translating his explosiveness and lateral agility into elite separation, a deep threat that can take the top off the defense.
That type of player is certainly within the range of possibilities for Parris Campbell. He could be that guy. I absolutely understand why dynasty fantasy football players get excited about him as a player. He has enough going for him to possibly be the next game-breaking playmaker at the wide receiver position. While his ceiling is nearly unlimited, his floor is concerning.
There is so much more to being a deep threat than just being fast.
Due to Parris Campbell’s usage as mostly a screen and drag route receiver, we never really got a look at many of the other aspects of his game that could make or break him as a prospect. That makes most of what we expect out of Campbell complete projection.
An outside receiver has to be able to beat press coverage. That is something that we have never had the opportunity to see in his college tape. His speed was so dynamic, that teams didn’t ever try and press him. Teams won’t be as afraid of him in the NFL as they were in college. If he plays on the outside, he will face press coverage at some point. If he shows that he can’t handle physical corners, teams will press him consistently.
Deep threats have to be adept at tracking the football down the field. This seems like it would be simple, but many receivers struggle with it. The ability to locate the ball, properly track the football, not waste space when running under the pass, and position their hands properly is something that is vital to being a downfield threat.
You can’t just be fast and win with speed in the NFL. There are other fast players on the field, and the difference between the fast and the average players is far less dramatic than it was in college. Passes are going to be contested. We’ve seen very little tape on him in contested catch situations, but he doesn’t project favorably in this area. His hands have always been suspect, and he doesn’t have a large enough frame to box out defenders or keep them from making plays on the ball. This is likely an area in which he will struggle.
Where Does He Line Up?
He doesn’t always extend to catch the ball away from his frame, and this limits his catch radius. As a receiver that many people project to be receiving targets down the field, you want to give your quarterback the biggest catch radius possible. Parris Campbell doesn’t do this in the short and intermediate areas of the field, so I think that it is tough to project that he does it well in the vertical game.
This is an area that would affect his projection to a slot role in the NFL as well. As a slot receiver, he is going to be working over the middle a lot more than he would as an outside receiver, and he would need to make catches in the contact window consistently to truly thrive there.
As a slot receiver, you have to be a decent route runner. Parris Campbell had a very limited route tree, and he never really had the opportunity to show off his athleticism in his routes. His profile suggests that he could develop into a good route runner in the NFL, but not all athletic players turn into technicians. It is impossible to tell how dedicated he will be to his craft at the NFL level, despite the fact that he has no athletic limitations to his route running capabilities.
All in all, yes, I see why everyone likes Parris Campbell. His upside is tremendous, and he could end up being a legitimate superstar at the next level. I think there is a lot of projection there, and he needs a lot of experience and/or refinement in a lot of different areas to even touch that potential.
The problem that I have is that his two projected best fits in the NFL are either in the slot or as an outside deep threat. His profile has a lot of holes in it in the traits that would project him as successful in those roles.
Some things are just questions. We don’t know whether he can track the ball downfield or not, because he was never asked to do it.
Some things we have a pretty good idea of. Campbell doesn’t have the softest hands, doesn’t extend away from his frame consistently, isn’t big bodied. and isn’t physical. We know that he probably is not going to dominate in contested catch situations at the next level.
In a wide receiver class that is littered with questions and projections, I think Parris Campbell has the most questions to answer about his game and his role at the next level. He may answer all of them, but I won’t be spending a first round pick on him when there are so many guys that I feel have checked more boxes and have cleaner translatable traits.