Parris Campbell's NFL career didn't get off to the start he or anyone likely envisioned.
The speedster from Ohio State couldn't outrun injuries in 2019, limiting him to just seven games as a rookie. Despite his pedigree as an Ohio State standout with big-play potential, his 18 receptions for 127 yards and one touchdown didn't register him on the radar of most around the league.
The combination of a lack of attention and unseen athletic potential has his coach anxious to see what he can do in 2020.
"I'm super pumped about Parris and where the upside is," Reich said Tuesday, via 107.5 The Fan. "We didn't get to see him enough (last year). He was hurt a lot. I'm proud of the way Parris has been handling the offseason. He's been doing everything possible. He's working out hard. I'm staying very much in touch with him, and with the trainers and what he's doing and watching that whole process unfold. He's really determined.
"He still has to have things go his way and stay healthy. He missed a lot of practice time, too. It wasn't just that he missed games. He missed a lot of practice time. He missed most of the (2019 offseason program). We've been around him enough, I see things in Parris, I see really good wide receiver skills."
Campbell's receiver skills are a product of his aforementioned determination. Once a four-star running back at Akron's St. Vincent-St. Mary High School, Campbell's longer frame and elite speed foretold a future running routes, not receiving handoffs. He became a receiver at Ohio State and had to work his way into being an effective one, overcoming inconsistencies with his hands as an underclassman to grow into a productive, highlight-making wideout for the Buckeyes. His 1,062-yard, 12-touchdown senior season vaulted him into the second round of the draft, where the Colts selected him as their burner of the future.
He rarely got to show off that ability as a rookie, but his time off might also allow him to better understand the position at the professional level. Reich plans to develop Campbell into a versatile weapon to be deployed against the opponent from a variety of on-field locations.
"Obviously, we all see the speed, but I think he's got deceptive power and I think he's got the footwork to where he can play inside or out.," Reich said. "He will play more in the slot this year. But we will move him around, we will move everybody around, that's just the way we roll. If you play one wide receiver position, you need to play all three because we need to move guys around to scheme things up and do what we do with personnel things and to accentuate what each guy does best. But super excited about Parris and just need to get him on the field so he can develop more as a route runner."
If Campbell's progress from running back to receiver is any indicator, he should fulfill Reich's expectations. Catching passes from veteran quarterback in Philip Rivers might also help the second-year wideout, too.