Draft Preview: Ga. Tech receiver Camp raises eyebrows with testing results

George Bremer, The Herald Bulletin, Anderson, Ind.
·3 min read

Apr. 27—Jalen Camp didn't move to Florida or Arizona to work out at an EXOS facility this spring. He didn't pair up with an NFL legend for private workouts, either. In fact, the Georgia Tech wide receiver eschewed almost all of the latest NFL draft prep trends.

Instead, he continued to work with his father, Richard, at the family-owned gym near Atlanta, as he's done all his life. The early results suggest future prospects might also want to seek out Camp's father's services.

The 6-foot-2, 226-pound receiver posted a relative athletic score of 9.75 on a 10-point scale based off the results of his pro day on March 16. Camp's eye-popping performances included 30 reps on the bench press, a 39.5-inch vertical leap and a 4.14-second shuttle drill.

It was enough to get his name buzzing among NFL evaluators, even though he spent the majority of his time with the Yellow Jackets playing in Paul Johnson's triple-option attack and seeing few targets.

"I don't want to be cocky or anything like that, but I think I'm a good athlete," Camp told the Atlanta Journal-Constitution in January.

No lies detected.

Camp played in 34 games with 11 starts during his first three seasons at Georgia Tech and had a combined 12 receptions without a touchdown. But Johnson's run-heavy attack did give Camp a chance to showcase his physicality.

He's a willing blocker as well as a player likely to have an immediate impact on special teams as an NFL rookie.

The arrival of Geoff Collins as head coach in 2019 was supposed to lead to Camp's breakout season, and he did score his first career touchdown. But the season was cut short by injury after just four games, and Camp took a medical redshirt.

Upon returning, Camp set career highs with 29 catches, 439 yards and four touchdowns in 10 games in 2020. But those aren't the kind of senior-year numbers likely to cause pro scouts to knock down your door.

The pro day changed that dynamic.

"Really proud that a lot of NFL teams got to see what we see every single day," Collins told reporters after the session.

Camp isn't complaining. He graduated with a degree in business and is working on his master's in building construction.

But he comes from a football family and wants to exhaust all possibilities in the game before moving on to any backup plans. His father played at West Georgia, uncle Ken Camp played at Auburn and younger brother Jamal will be a redshirt sophomore defensive lineman next season at Georgia Tech.

With the pandemic casting doubt across the college football landscape, Camp approached the 2020 season as a blessing.

"I made the most of the season," he told the AJC. "I went into this season just kind of grateful, honestly, like, regardless of if I had 20 touchdowns like (Alabama Heisman winner) Devonta Smith or zero touchdowns and three blocks — or whatever the case may be — I was just going into the season like, 'Let me make the most of it,' because I saw what could happen (in 2019) missing eight games and not being out there with my teammates."

Camp is taking a similarly mature approach to the draft.

Teams obviously will have questions about his relative lack of production, and they'll go back to the tape to see if his testing numbers show up on the field. Like many receivers, Camp needs to become stronger and more consistent with his routes.

But his blend of size, strength and speed should be enough at least to get him on a roster for training camp. That invitation certainly could come as a late-round selection in this weekend's draft.

"You never know what's really going to happen on draft day," Camp told WXIA-TV in Atlanta. "I'm going to try to stay even keel regardless of what I'm hearing and just see what happens."