May 28, 2024   3 MIN READ

Open Door

Depth Issues Create Opportunity For Campbell


The impact of DeVante Parker’s retirement and DeVonta Smith’s absence Wednesday from voluntary OTAs left the number of veteran wide receivers at the NovaCare Complex in short supply.

There was A.J. Brown, among the NFL’s elite at his position and on a Hall of Fame trajectory at age 26.

The other, also 26, was Parris Campbell, a free-agent addition hoping to grab a stronghold on the vacant third receiver role.

Keeping the context in mind, Campbell – who joined Brown and second-year wideout Joseph Ngata on the first team during 7-on-7s – looked quick and decisive as a route-runner and caught everything thrown in his direction.

The former Colts and Giants pass-catcher was peppered with targets over the 70-minute session.

More importantly, the practice showcased the rapport between Campbell and quarterback Jalen Hurts, perhaps foreshadowing a connection that should only be strengthened by training camp in late July.

Parris Campbell

GETTY IMAGES: Former Colts WR Parris Campbell has a great opportunity to stick with the Eagles as a No. 3 receiver.

That Hurts often looked Campbell’s way wouldn’t usually qualify as noteworthy given the limitation in numbers, but recent history indicates that Hurts is most comfortable targeting the incumbents, particularly in the early going.

Time and reps are typically paramount in terms of establishing trust and chemistry.

Still, while Campbell figures to see plenty of opportunities in coming weeks and months to stamp his place on the depth chart, his consistency – and health – will be determining factors in his roster climb.

Campbell has missed 39 games due to injury over the course of his five NFL seasons.

Can the Eagles depend on him to remain in the lineup?

The Eagles’ interest in Campbell leading up to the 2019 NFL Draft – and subsequent outcome – has been well documented, with the team instead selecting wide receiver J.J. Arcega-Whiteside with pick No. 57.

The Colts plucked Campbell two picks later.

After all this time, Campbell has landed in Philadelphia, with a sudden wealth of opportunity and seeking a resurgence following a dismal campaign with the Giants.

In 12 games (three starts), Campbell, a speed merchant, mustered only 104 yards on 20 catches, averaging a minuscule 5.2 yards per catch.

While much of Campbell’s shortcomings can be attributed to a hapless Giants aerial attack, the Ohio State product must rekindle his explosion and prove his value as a complementary weapon.

Also worth mentioning is Campbell’s dual-purpose appeal as a kick returner who boasts a career 24.4-yard average in minimal usage.

Taking into account his forecasted reserve role and increased emphasis on special teams in light of the new kickoff rule, it’s plausible to envision Campbell’s roster chase coming down to his impact in the third phase.

The third wide receiver was sparsely utilized last season. Quez Watkins yielded only 21 targets while Olamide Zaccheaus saw just 20.

But it’s fair to expect an uptick under new offensive coordinator Kellen Moore.

Sure, the Eagles’ passing attack justifiably runs through Brown, Smith and tight end Dallas Goedert, but there will be more variance under Moore.

That potentially includes Campbell, who offers inside-outside versatility, plenty of speed and familiarity with head coach Nick Sirianni and pass-game coordinator Kevin Patullo, having spent the 2019 and 2020 seasons under them in Indianapolis.

Several circumstances pose as obstacles for Campbell to channel his career-best 2022 version, in which he corralled 63 catches for 623 yards and three touchdowns, but the Eagles would surely settle for the version unveiled last week.

The true test will be graded later this summer, but for now, Campbell is off to an encouraging start.

– Andrew DiCecco (@AndrewDiCecco) is a Staff Reporter/Content Producer for

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