With the 2014 NFL Draft only a few months away, we reached out to some of the draft prospects we believe the Green Bay Packers could target in May. Earlier in the week we heard from Louisville safety Hakeem Smith, and today, we hear from one of the most versatile receivers in this year’s draft, Wake Forest’s Michael Campanaro.
Campanaro was a three-year starter in the Demon Deacons offense and led the team in receiving the past two seasons. Campanaro not only earned All-ACC honors as both a junior and senior, but he also leaves Wake Forest as the school’s all-time leader in receptions (229) and third in receiving yards (2,506).
Campanaro’s game is versatile to say the least. He’s done everything in Wake Forest’s offense from lining up in the slot, splitting out wide, catching passes in the flat, running the ball off sweeps, and even throwing touchdown passes out of the backfield. Not to mention the Maryland native was also a pretty good punt returner for the Demon Deacons.
Campanaro’s football resume is impressive, and even though he doesn’t boast tremendous size for the position at 5-foot-9 and 190 pounds, Campanaro’s outstanding workout numbers at the NFL Scouting Combine last week demonstrate his elite athleticism.
The former Demon Deacon ran an impressive 4.46 forty, put up 20 reps of 225 pounds on the bench press, and showed off a 39-inch vertical, all three top marks for wide receivers in Indianapolis.
Campanaro may be a wide receiver prospect flying under the radar heading into the draft in May, but a team like the Packers could draft the Wake Forest receiver to add another dynamic weapon to their offense.
To learn more about Campanaro’s game and get his thoughts on playing in Green Bay, I reached out to him before he headed to the Combine and he was courteous enough to answer my questions.
Q. With the draft only a few months away, how will use things like the NFL Combine and pro day to showcase your talent and boost your draft stock?
MC: My goal is to show teams that I can be a reliable player on and off the field. I am also looking forward to showing teams that I can play inside or outside and that I the have straight-line speed to do so.
Q. You set the school record in career receptions with 229 and finished third in career receiving yards with 2,506. What does it mean to you to leave your mark on Wake Forest history, and how will you transfer this success to the NFL?
MC: It means a lot to me to have set school records at Wake. I had a great time playing for Coach Grobe and I love the Wake fans. I’m always trying to improve my game. I have worked with Antonio Brown of the Steelers, and I watch film on many of the NFL wide receivers to pick up on whatever I can.
Q. Watching you play, I noticed you were used in many different ways in Wake Forest’s offense. How do you think this versatility will help you play the position at the next level?
MC: My hope is that my versatility will help teams feel that they can plug me into whichever role in the offense that is needed.
Q. You remind me a bit of another talented slot receiver on the Packers, Randall Cobb. Would you say you play in the mold of Cobb, Percy Harvin, and Wes Welker, or is your game a bit different than theirs?
MC: I would agree with you and would also say that my game has a little bit of each of those players.
Q. Anyone who watches you play can see you’re a versatile receiver, but in your opinion, what is the one thing you do best at the position?
MC: I think my ability to read what the defense is trying to do pre-snap and during a play, and then having the ability to adjust accordingly. I have been called savvy as a wide receiver, but I also have the physical tools to attack the defense at the same time.
Q. Outside of receiving, you’re also a pretty good run blocker and punt returner. Are these underrated skills you bring to the table at the position?
MC: Punt returning is one of my most favorite things to do in a game because it allows you to be a game changer.
Q. Are there other parts of your game that you feel you do well but may be overlooked?
MC: The other part of my game that could be overlooked is my ability to run outside receiving routes. I wasn’t asked to do that at Wake too often, but I look forward to showing that I can be an inside or outside threat in the NFL.
Q. The Packers are known for having one of the better receiving corps in the NFL. What would it mean to you to be drafted by Green Bay in May?
MC: Being drafted by the Packers would be a dream come true for me. I started following the Packers when Reggie White moved over to Green Bay in the early 90s and was a huge fan of those teams.
Q. What kind of player and person would they be getting?
MC: I love their offense, and I think I could add another dimension to it. The Packers would be getting a player that would be very reliable on and off the field.
Q. How would you feel playing alongside players like Cobb and Jordy Nelson and catching passes from Aaron Rodgers?
MC: I have watched Aaron Rogers make incredible throws in the tightest of windows, so having a guy like that throwing to me would be an honor. I would love the opportunity to learn from guys like Cobb and Nelson and at the same time have Rogers be my quarterback!
Q. Tell us a little bit about your journey to this point. Who have been the most influential people in your life and have helped you along the way?
MC: I have a great family that has supported me through everything I do. My dad was my coach through little league and freshman year of high school, while my mom was team mom. My older brothers have been my best friends and trainers. I’m lucky to have a great support system.
Q. What have been some of the major challenges up to this point?
MC: I have been playing football my whole life. My little league and high school teams didn’t loose very many games. My high school team went to three state championships, so it was a challenge when we didn’t win as many games as we would have liked at Wake Forest. I had to be a leader through tough times at Wake and keep everyone working.
Q. When you’re away from football, what do you like to do in your free time? Any favorite hobbies?
MC: I’m a big basketball fan. I played point guard in high school and we won a state championship. I like to go bowling with my friends and play video games.
Q. Is there anything else you’d like Packers fans to know about you?
MC: That I hope we will be able to get to know each other over the next 10 years!
Career college stats
2013 – 67 rec, 803 yds, 12 avg, 6 TDs, passing TD
2012 – 79 rec, 763 yds, 9.66 avg, 6 TDs, 86 rushing yds, rushing TD, passing TD
2011 – 73 rec, 833 yds, 11.41 avg, 2 TDs, punt return TD, 2 passing TDs,
2010 – 10 rec, 107 receiving yds, 123 rushing yds, rushing TD,
Film on Michael Campanaro
Michael Campanaro against NC State (2013): 12 receptions for 153 yds and 2 TDs
Michael Campanaro against Boston College (2012): 16 receptions for 123 yards and 3 TDs
Learn more about Michael from this Camp Nation special
Watch more film on Michael Campanaro at draftbreakdown.com.