Over the next few months, we’re providing an in-depth scouting report for each of the Jets’ undrafted free agents. We continue today with wide receiver George Campbell.
The 23-year old Campbell, who is listed at 6’4” and 183, played college football for FSU and West Virginia but caught just 32 passes in his college career. However, he did have a career year in 2019, which saw him catch seven touchdown passes.
Campbell was a highly sought-after five-star high school recruit, ranked 10th in the nation and as the number one athlete in the country according to ESPN. After having initially accepted a scholarship to Michigan, Campbell de-committed and ended up going to Florida State.
His college career got off to a slow start, as Campbell caught just three passes in his freshman year and then missed his entire sophomore year due to injury.
He showed some big play capabilities in 2017 as he caught six passes for 122 yards but was limited to just four appearances by injuries. Then, in 2018, he found himself buried behind younger players on the depth chart and played sparingly, making just four catches.
Having graduated, Campbell almost transferred to Penn State but instead opted to transfer to West Virginia and the decision paid off immediately as he caught the first touchdown of his career early on in the first game of the season.
By the end of the year, he had established himself as a big play threat. Although he only caught 19 passes - six more than the rest of his career combined - Campbell ended the year with seven touchdowns and was fourth in the nation with a 24.7 yards per catch average.
Campbell wasn’t invited to the scouting combine or any of the top all-star games, but was signed by the Jets after going unselected in the 2020 draft.
Let’s move onto some more in-depth analysis of what Campbell brings to the table, based on in-depth research and film study.
Although he didn’t do an official combine workout, Campbell is regarded as a top athlete. He reported ran a 4.36 in the 40-yard dash and posted a 37-inch vertical jump in high school.
Campbell also carried out an unofficial pro day with a 4.35 in the 40-yard dash and 126-inch broad jump. His agility numbers were below average though.
He obviously has excellent size and length at 6’4” and appears bigger than his listed weight of 183 pounds.
Campbell mostly played on the outside at Florida State, but he saw more action in the slot and produced well from there at West Virginia.
In high school, Campbell mostly played defense at first and was initially a defensive end. He played a few snaps as a deep safety on Hail Mary passes in college.
As noted, Campbell was among the nation’s leaders in yards per catch last season, as he came up with several deep balls. Campbell has the speed to blow past cornerbacks and get behind the defense.
With the ball in the air on downfield throws, Campbell does a good job of tracking and adjusting to the flight of the ball.
Over the course of his career, Campbell hasn’t shown much in terms of route running abilities, as most of his production seems to have come on dump-offs or go-routes. This will likely be the main thing he needs to work on at the NFL level.
There aren’t many examples of him getting separation on short or intermediate routes against man to man coverage but here’s one play where he runs an out-breaking route against zone coverage.
Campbell’s catch rate in college was 56 percent, which isn’t too bad considering he was thrown a lot of low percentage downfield passes.
Drops haven’t been an issue for him, as he never had more than one in any season, although obviously he didn’t get that many targets.
He hasn’t really had any highlight reel moments in terms of spectacular diving catches, one-handers or going up over a defender, but he’s made a few catches in traffic and had to leap for a couple of high passes.
Campbell entered his final season with no touchdowns, but then recorded seven on only 19 receptions with the Mountaineers.
However, most of these were from outside the red zone, as he wasn’t really targeted near the goal line. Here’s one of his scores that was in the red zone, though.
After the catch
Campbell shows some decent abilities after the catch and generated a lot of his production while with the Seminoles on screens and dump-offs. He shows some elusiveness on this play.
He also can break tackles, as shown on this long touchdown from the FSU Spring Game a few years ago.
Campbell lost two fumbles in 2017 but none since.
Campbell gives a good effort as a blocker and makes the uses of his length and size, although he has made mistakes at times.
On this screen pass he locks onto his block well and drives his man downfield and well out of the play.
Campbell was flagged for an illegal block in his freshman year, but has had no penalties since then.
Campbell was a key special teams contributor for the Mountaineers in 2019 as he contributed on all four of the main units. He played in punt and kick coverage, rushed punts and was a blocker on the kick return unit. In total, he had five tackles in 2019.
As a primary gunner for the Mountaineers he had a good impact, making plays such as this one where he recovered a muffed punt.
On this play, Campbell got downfield quickly and was able to down the punt at the one-yard line.
On the return unit, he fielded two kicks and returned them for a total of 40 yards in 2017. He didn’t contribute much on special teams for the Seminoles otherwise, though.
Campbell brings some good physicality to his special teams role, something he says he picked up from having played on defense in high school.
However, this perhaps doesn’t manifest itself as much on offense as there don’t seem to be a lot of examples of him using physical play to create separation.
On this play, the deep ball is underthrown and almost intercepted as he fails to work back to the ball and make any kind of play on it.
Instincts and Intelligence
Campbell hasn’t had many chances to show off his on-field instincts because of the way he was used in college but his coaches have praised his intellectual ability.
He graduated early from Florida State so he was able to transfer to West Virginia without having to miss a year.
Campbell is considered a player with a good personality, attitude and work ethic, despite being a highly-touted prospect that never quite lived up to the hype.
While he was injured at FSU, Campbell earned praise from the coaching staff for asserting himself as a leader and working with some of the freshmen in the program.
He’s not been involved in any off-field controversies, other than in one high school game when he was reportedly punched by an opposing coach.
On the field, his discipline has been good with just one penalty in his career, which was back in 2015.
Injuries essentially messed up three years of Campbell’s career. Before the 2016 season he had to have core muscle surgery to fix a bone that was lodged in his hip, causing him to miss the entire season. Then, in 2017, he missed all but four games due to complications from that surgery. For 2018, he was healthy but never managed to recapture his spot on the depth chart.
At least in 2019 he seemed back to full health and didn’t seem to have lost any of his speed.
While he shows some flashes of potential, Campbell is raw as a receiver at this time so has to be considered a developmental project at that position.
However, his potential on special teams might be a realistic path to a roster spot for him at some stage. The last receiver to make the team solely for his special teams ability was probably Wallace Wright, although Charone Peake also ended up being almost exclusively a special teamer.
If he makes it onto the roster, maybe the Jets will use Campbell from time to time as a deep threat in the early going.
Campbell is an obvious long-shot but, as noted with some of the other rookies, anyone who was a sought-after high school recruit that didn’t live up to the hype often gets an extended look at the pro level.
He certainly displays some impressive athletic ability and his increased production in his final season is a sign that Campbell was developing as a receiver.
While special teams are his best chance of making the team, Campbell needs to work on his route-running skills and physicality at the catchpoint to take his game to the next level. It will be interesting to see how much he gets featured in preseason.