Colts need Paris Campbell in a big way if they’re going to contend

Parris Campbell didn’t live up to expectations in his rookie season with the Colts. He needs to play much better in 2020 for Indianapolis to step forward.

Signing Philip Rivers to a big contract in free agency isn’t going to solve all of the Colts’ offensive issues heading into the 2020 season. For Frank Reich’s offense to really flourish, Indianapolis will need several weapons on the outside to step up.

Parris Campbell might be the single player under the most pressure heading into next season. Unfortunately, he’s already landed in the league’s concussion protocol after being involved in a minor car accident on Wednesday.

This isn’t an issue that should affect Campbell heading into the regular season, but his durability is already a big question for the Colts. He missed time in 2019 due to a broken hand, broken foot and sports hernia. Injuries were a big reason why Campbell only caught 18 passes for 127 yards in his rookie campaign.

The Colts front office had higher expectations for their second round pick on the banks of his terrific collegiate play at Ohio State. The team envisioned Campbell as the sort of electric slot receiver who could turn short passes into big gains on a regular basis. Last year’s starting signal-caller, Jacoby Brissett, would have benefited from that kind of playmaking at the wide receiver position.

Rivers will also need the team’s receiving corps to step up if he’s going to pilot this team on a deep postseason run. T.Y. Hilton has star potential but his health is a question mark. If he can stay on the field for a full 16-game slate he could have a career season with Rivers at the helm of the Indianapolis passing attack.

The organization also added to their options at wideout by spending another second round pick on a prospect in the most recent NFL Draft. Michael Pittman is a big-bodied, athletic receiver who has all the physical tools required to thrive as an outside receiver for the Colts.

Both Hilton and Pittman need a slot receiver to step up and take some pressure off of their work on the outside. If he doesn’t step up in his second season as a professional it’s going to make life easy for opposing secondaries. Hilton has big-play ability, but he struggles to defeat double teams on a regular basis. Pittman could be a slow starter as he adjusts to the rigors of life in the NFL.

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If Campbell doesn’t seize the slot receiver position for his own this season then it might be time to consider him a flop. The Colts need him to come through in 2020 to maximize their offensive potential. Campbell’s career is already at a crossroads.

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