Going into 2017, the Baltimore Ravens are going to need Breshad Perriman to step up.
The Baltimore Ravens need offensive play-makers, there is no doubt about it. There is hope that Kenneth Dixon and Terrance West can provide that in the running game, but can Breshad Perriman do the same in the passing game?
With Steve Smith Sr. out of the door, the top remaining receivers on the roster are Mike Wallace, Breshad Perriman, Kamar Aiken, and Chris Moore. With cap space issues, the Ravens could possibly cut Wallace and Aiken to free up space. General manager Ozzie Newsome has said publicly that the team is looking to add more depth, but it is going to be hard to find #1 receiver talent with their cap room. The next best option is to work in-house, particularly with Breshad Perriman.
The Ravens drafted Breshad Perriman with the 26th pick in the first round of the 2015 draft. Perriman declared for the draft after his junior year at Central Florida and was considered one of the better receivers in his class. The Ravens had not taken a receiver in the first round since 2005, but saw something special in Perriman.
Since drafting Perriman, the growing pains have been there. During his first day of training camp, he suffered an injury to his knee. The injury continued to nag him the whole season and he never saw the field. Coming into the next season, Perriman had another injury scare when he injured his knee in OTAs. The original thought was that he tore his ACL, but further evaluation said otherwise. Perriman was able to receiver treatment and was ready for the 2016 season.
Last season Perriman was productive at times for the Ravens. He finished the season with 30 catches for 499 yards and 4 touchdowns. He made some spectacular catches during the season and excited Ravens fans. Unfortunately, inconsistencies held him back. Because of his injuries, last season was his true rookie season. He struggled catching the football at times and did not catch on as quickly as the coaching staff had hoped. Head coach John Harbaugh made these frustrations public early in the season.
In the Ravens end of the year press conference, John Harbaugh told reporters that the team is optimistic that Perriman can be a #1 for the Ravens. The team is hoping that he can step up and make it happen in 2017.
The Future Is Promising
While many people might not agree, I think that Perriman can be the #1 receiver for the Baltimore Ravens. Is it going to happen next season? Probably not, but there are a ton of signs for optimism. Unless you are a freak of nature, it takes more than 1 year to make a full adjustment to the play in the NFL. He showed flashes during last season and if he can put it all together, there is no doubt that he can be a #1 receiver for the Baltimore Ravens.
His speed is his greatest asset. He has the ability to burn opposing defenders down the field on fly routes. During his time at UCF, the long ball was where his production came from. Now that he is in the NFL, the defenders are bigger, faster, and stronger. He must improve his route running if he wants to be great. With coaching, I think this is more than possible. In his defense, the inconsistencies of Joe Flacco have not helped his development. The two must get together in the off-season to make sure that they are on the same page. Next season will be telling especially if Flacco is able to elevate his play and improve his mechanics.
It almost is better that the Ravens have no choice but to work with Perriman. He is only going to get better with time on the field. It doesn’t happen overnight, but I believe he eventually get there.