By Aaron Wilson
The Baltimore Sun
11:57 AM EDT, March 9, 2014
A stellar NFL scouting combine performance could elevate Wake Forest wide receiver Michael Campanaro's draft status.
The River Hill graduate felt like he had something to prove to NFL teams about his athleticism.
By the end of his performance, NFL teams were telling Campanaro that he was definitely faster than Denver Broncos standout slot wide receiver Wes Welker.
"I think I helped myself tremendously," Campanaro said in a telephone interview from South Florida, where he's training for the NFL draft. "I think it opened some eyes. I put up the numbers I thought I could put up. I think I did pretty well. I got great feedback from just about every team.
"I think I turned a lot of heads with my speed and athleticism. I don't think teams thought I would run that fast or jump that high. I think I helped myself out a lot."
The 5-foot-9, 192 pound receiver ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds.
Welker ran the 50-yard dash in 4.65 seconds following his senior year at Texas Tech in 2004 with a 30-inch vertical leap and a 9-5 broad jump. And New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola had a 4.68 time in the 40-yard dash and a 27.5-inch vertical leap entering the NFL draft in 2008 out of Texas Tech.
Campanaro also registered a 39-inch vertical leap, a 10-2 broad jump, a 6.77 three-cone drill and bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times. His numbers were comparable to how Pittsburgh Steelers wide receiver Antonio Brown did at the NFL scouting combine.
"I was actually hoping to run a little faster, but I still think the 4.4 definitely helped me," Campanaro said. "I showed teams my athleticism is up there with the best in the league. Across the board, I felt like I had one of the best overall combines.
"I feel like I have the savvy to work the middle and perform the way the Welkers and Amendolas have as a slot receiver. What I do will translate to the NFL."
A Clarksville native, Campanaro caught 229 passes at Wake Forest for the highest total in school history. He finished his Demon Deacons career with 2,506 career yards and 14 touchdowns.
Campanaro held formal meetings at the combine with the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals, including Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians. He also talked with Panthers receivers coach Ricky Proehl, the former NFL and Wake Forest wide receiver.
"It was great catching up with Ricky Proehl, I've known him since my freshman year," Campanaro said. "He was such a great receiver at Wake Forest. It was great to catch up with him. I had a great meeting with the Cardinals, too."
Campanaro had an informal meeting with the Ravens, talking with new receivers coach Bobby Engram.
"The Ravens were the first team I met with," Campanaro said. "I met with coach Engram and wee talked about what I did at Wake and our offense. We had a good talk."
As a junior, Campanaro had 79 catches for 763 yards and 14 touchdowns. As a senior, he caught 67 passes before breaking his collarbone. He was just a few weeks removed from starting running again when he was at the Senior Bowl.
"I was just getting my legs back in shape at the Senior Bowl," Campanaro said. "I felt a lot more comfortable at the combine running routes and my body felt better and more explosive. I felt much stronger."
Campanaro plans to work out at the Wake Forest campus Pro Day workout on March 17.
"I'm real excited," Campanaro said. "I'm just going to be working out running routes, no testing. It will be great to get to work out for the NFL teams and see my friends."