So far in this series, we've taken a look at 7 different WRs, most of which will be selected in the top 3 rounds. With the draft only about 2 weeks away now, I thought it would be a good idea to take a look at an offensive weapon projected as a day 3 selection. If you knew absolutely nothing about Golden Tate before the Lions acquired him in free agency, Seattle fans would tell you that he is more of an outside receiver than a slot receiver. I am inclined to believe them, and I feel like it is very likely that the Lions will draft a slot wide receiver with one of their picks. One prospect that caught my eye was Michael Campanaro out of Wake Forest. Campanaro is a small and speedy WR (5'9, 192 lbs.), who ran a 4.46 40-yard dash, with a 10-yard split of 1.53. He has pretty large hands relative to his size (9 3/4) as well. His spider graph via www.mockdraftable.com is also pretty impressive.
The lower percentiles in height, weight and arm length come as no surprise for a small receiver like Campanaro, but the rest are pretty impressive for a projected 5th round pick. However, Campanaro himself had some comments on where he thinks he will get selected.
"It's been really good," Campanaro said Sunday in a telephone interview. "My agent, Drew Rosenhaus, went to the owners meetings and he said about every team in the league has a third-round grade on me and that it's a strong possibility. He could definitely see me going late in the third round or early in the fourth round.
"I think I helped my stock after the combine. It's a deep receiver class with so many good receivers. I don't care where I go. I just want to go somewhere where it's a good fit for me. I'm just excited to see where I end up."
Campanaro was used primarily as a slot receiver at Wake Forest, and it's likely that he will sustain that role in the NFL. As you can tell from the game totals, Campanaro has dealt with some injuries that limited his playing time. Last year, his season ended prematurely due to a broken collarbone. He was on track to get career highs in every receiving stat category in 2013 before the injury.
Campanaro is a perfect example of scheme-based value. For instance, an NFL team that uses more 2 WR looks probably won't value Campanaro as much as a team that uses a slot WR often. Therefore, a team with more 2 WR looks would probably have him a lot lower on their draft board than the team that uses a slot WR more.
Like I mentioned earlier, Campanaro has pretty large hands relative to his size. He was the most reliable receiver for the Demon Deacons, and rarely dropped any passes.
Campanaro only had 5 catches against Boston College last year, but this 30 yard touchdown grab was the most impressive. At the top of his stem, Campanaro does a little stutter and go which is enough to allow him to get in front of the defender. But more impressively, he lays out for the catch and makes an incredible grab.
Campanaro carved up NC State's defense last year and had success on a variety of different routes.
Campanaro sets the tone early on a short crossing route where he receives plenty of cushion from the linebacker, and is able to gain some nice yards after the catch due to a poor angle on an attempted tackle.
The very next play, the linebacker is playing slightly tighter coverage on Campanaro, and he gets burned on a curl and go route that was run to perfection. Campanaro fakes his short curl route and looks to his QB to sell the route, and the linebacker is already off balance and running in the complete opposite direction when Campanaro bursts across the middle.
Campanaro's route-running is as crisp as they come, and this next play is why I'd love to have him as a late round pick.
Campanaro is an extremely intelligent WR and knows exactly where to put himself against zone defenses. In this play, he sits himself right in between the safety and the linebacker on a short fake curl route, and bursts into the back of the endzone. He sells the curl route so perfectly and gets the safety to lean the other way while he makes his break to the middle of the endzone.
Campanaro is extremely shifty and can lull you to sleep in an instant. When you find yourself getting lazy on defense and think that he's running the same route he ran the previous play, that's when you get beat. He's an incredible 3rd down receiver, and was able to move the chains for the Demon Deacons constantly. He's also very good after the catch, and is not afraid to block, regardless of his small frame.
I like to think of Campanaro as a Wes Welker type player mixed with Darren Sproles. When matched up against linebackers or safeties, his shiftiness allows him to get open with ease on short routes, which often set him up for some double moves leading to big receptions down field last year.
Why We Should Draft Him
The Lions have found their #2 receiver, but they are still in need of a #3 and a slot receiver. Campanaro would be a perfect fit for the Lions as a slot receiver, and would pose as a very dynamic receiver for them. If needed, he can return kicks and punts, and was involved in a lot of screen passes for Wake Forest as well. He is great at finding holes against zone defense, runs crisp routes, and has great hands. The Lions were lacking in all 3 of those categories last year, so adding an offensive weapon like Campanaro for Stafford would be an immediate improvement. Campanaro would be a nice day 3 selection, and is projected to go anywhere from the 4th-6th round.
Why We Shouldn't Draft Him
Campanaro does come with a history of injuries, as he suffered a broken collar bone to end his season last year. Some may question his durability for being such a small receiver, and that's pretty understandable when you think of the Lions luck and history of drafting smaller receivers.
The Lions Select Series:
Just hurry the fuck up already.
P.S. discuss below and rec if you enjoyed it.