As wide receiver Michael Campanaro left the Ravens’ offices in April after the organization’s annual local prospects workout, he had a gut feeling that it wouldn’t be his last time at team headquarters.
Campanaro was correct in his assessment. The Ravens sent their 2015 sixth-round pick to the Cleveland Browns to collect one final pick in this year’s draft. They used that pick to select Campanaro, a River Hill graduate, with the 218th overall selection in the seventh round.
“I felt like I got a great vibe from some of the coaches and definitely felt comfortable just being there, being from the area,” said Campanaro, who grew up in Clarksville and played at Wake Forest. “I definitely thought Baltimore was a potential landing spot for me entering the draft.”
During his workout for the Ravens, Campanaro was forced to take nearly every snap when another player pulled a muscle. That helped convince Ravens assistant general manager Eric DeCosta about Campanaro being a worthy investment.
“I think he’s shifty, I think he’s tough, I think he’s very quick,” DeCosta said. “He plays the slot, which is kind of a niche position and does that very, very well. He’s a good run-after-catch guy. He can catch punts. He should have a chance to contribute. Mike basically took every single rep during that workout, and it was impressive. In my mind, it tipped the scales to him being a good prospect for us.
“We thought it was a good trade for us based on the board and the feelings we had about Mike and it’s kind of a no-brainer. There’s a need for a guy like him. He has a unique skill set. We think he brings something different to the team and we think he can compete.”
Campanaro patterns his game after NFL slot wide receivers like the Denver Broncos’ Wes Welker, the New England Patriots’ Danny Amendola and the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown.
Campanaro, though, had superior workout numbers to Welker and Amendola when they entered the NFL.
Campanaro ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at the NFL scouting combine and had a 39-inch vertical leap, a 10-2 broad jump, a 6.77 three-cone drill and bench pressed 225 pounds 20 times.
“I’m always studying those guys and just learning from different things they do,” Campanaro said. “Those guys are great competitors. You can study their game and take things from their game and incorporate them into yours.”
Campanaro wasn’t expecting to be drafted this late with some projecting him to be selected as high as the third round.
“I was a little surprised just because of how teams told me where they had me on their board and my draft grades and the things my agent was telling me,” Campanaro said. “Yes, I was extremely surprised.”
And he’s extremely happy to play for essentially his hometown team having grown up in nearby Howard County.
Campanaro acknowledged that his family’s NFL loyalties were previously divided between the Washington Redskins and the Ravens, but that’s over with now.
“This is a big Ravens family right now,” Campanaro said. “Now, it’s 100 percent Ravens. I don’t think it’s added pressure. I think everyone is just going to be happy that I’m wearing the black and purple.”
Ten minutes after being picked, Campanaro got a congratulatory call from Ravens wide receiver Torrey Smith and some advice.
“He's just excited for me to be a part of the team,” Campanaro said. “He just said: ‘Come ready to work.’”
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