MOBILE, Ala. - A little more than five years ago, Michael Campanaro was on the field at M&T Bank Stadium leading River Hill High School to a second consecutive Class 2A state championship.
Soon, he may be on the same field trying to help the Ravens bounce back from an 8-8 season.
Campanaro, a wide receiver who played at Wake Forest, has met with Baltimore and several other teams in Mobile this week during the days leading up to the Senior Bowl game Saturday.
"I think Michael Campanaro is in the mold of a lot of the slot receivers that play in the NFL right now, the short, quicker guy," said Atlanta Falcons coach Mike Smith, who is coaching Campanaro and the North team at the Senior Bowl. "I'm not sure what his pure 40[-yard dash] speed is. We'll find that out later on. ...
"But he's got great quickness. He's got great toughness. And one thing he's done a very good job is that he's a guy that's been able to play all three [wide receiver] positions already, so he's got good knowledge of the game."
The Ravens lacked a consistent, dependable player in the slot this season.
Tight end Dennis Pitta has proven capable of playing the slot, but Campanaro could add to the offense as well.
Campanaro, who was strictly a slot receiver at Wake Forest, had a school-record 229 catches during his career, including 67 in just eight games this past season.
"He's a very productive player," said former NFL scout Bucky Brooks, who is an NFL draft analyst for NFL.com. "It's hard to give a comparison because everyone wants to throw out the Wes Welkers or whatever. But I think what he is, he's a great route runner, [has] outstanding hands, and he has a good feel for finding open areas.
"There's always a place on the roster for a guy like that."
Campanaro missed the final three games because of a broken collarbone, but he said that he received clearance to resume football activities two weeks ago, and he has been a full-go in practice this week.
The two primary question marks with Campanaro are his size and his speed.
He measured in at just 5-foot-9, 191 pounds earlier in the week, and many pundits believe he will run the 40-yard dash in 4.55 seconds or slower, which would be underwhelming for a player of his size.
Nonetheless, Campanaro is widely viewed as a potential third- or fourth-round pick, and he could go even higher in the draft if he finishes the week out well in Mobile and then tests out well at the NFL Scouting Combine in February.
"I definitely think I'm going to run a 4.4 [in the 40], and I'm shooting for lower honestly. I think I'm going to surprise a lot of people with my 40," Campanaro said, later adding, "And maybe I can shoot up [draft boards]. I'm just trying to show my skill set, and hopefully teams like it a lot."