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Wake Forest's Campanaro says he turned heads at NFL combine

Johnny Vy/NFL
Wake Forest's Michael Campanaro surprised some observers with his speed at the NFL Scouting Combine.

Wake Forest wide receiver Michael Campanaro finished his career as the leading receiver in school history, but despite his high-volume performance, most scouts seemingly saw him as a slow-footed possession receiver.

He might have changed some perceptions at last month's NFL Scouting Combine.

Campanaro, who measured 5-foot-9 and 192 pounds at the combine, caught 229 passes for 2,506 yards and 14 touchdowns in his career. Reports of his "great hands" and being a "savvy route-runner" and his career average of 10.9 yards per catch fed into the "possession receiver" school of thought.

But he ran the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds at the combine, including an unofficial 10-yard split of 1.53 seconds -- the same as Clemson's Sammy Watkins, who ran a 4.43 40. Campanaro also had a vertical jump of 39 inches, a broad jump of 10 feet, 2 inches, a 20-yard shuttle time of 4.01 seconds and a 3-cone drill time of 6.77 seconds. Only seven wide receivers had a better shuttle time, and the upshot is that Campanaro seems to be a lot more athletic than was assumed.

"I think I helped myself tremendously" at the combine, Campanaro told The Sun of Baltimore. "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."

Campanaro almost certainly will spend most of his time in the slot in the NFL.

"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 (Danny) Amendolas have as a slot receiver. What I do will translate to the NFL."

Campanaro, who will do position drills at Wake Forest's pro day on March 17, said he held formal meetings at the combine with the New York Jets and Arizona Cardinals, and had an informal talk with the Baltimore Ravens. He looks to be a third-day pick, likely around the fifth or sixth round.

Campanaro missed two complete games in 2012 with a hand injury and the final three games in 2013 with a broken collarbone; he also missed the 2013 opener with a hamstring issue. He had four games in '13 with at least 10 catches, which equaled the number from his first three seasons. He broke the school receiving record that had been held by former NFL tight end Desmond Clark.

Mike Huguenin can be reached at mike.huguenin@nfl.com. You also can follow him on Twitter @MikeHuguenin.

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