The Ravens Select Wide Receiver Breshad Perriman: Is He the Next Torrey Smith?
Stop me if you've heard this one before.
A relatively unheard of player from Central Florida puts up a solid showing in his final season in college, but flies under the radar until just a few weeks before the draft. Possessing the physical profile of a prototypical player at his position, scouts become enamored with said player, quickly sending his draft stock soaring from a mid-round grade into the first round.
In 2014 it happened to Blake Bortles when the Jacksonville Jaguars selected him with the third overall pick of the NFL Draft. And this year it happened to UCF wide receiver Breshad Perriman when the Baltimore Ravens made him the 26th overall pick of the 2015 draft.
Born to Play the Position
Breshad Perriman was born into an NFL family. His father, Brett Perriman, played wide receiver in the NFL for 10 years and was best known for his time with the Detroit Lions, where in 1994 he caught 108 passes for 1,488 yards (fourth all-time in team history) and 9 touchdowns.
But while Brett played as a slightly undersized receiver at 5' 9" and 180 pounds, Breshad has the ideal measurables all NFL teams drool over. Standing in at an 6' 2" and 212 pounds, Breshad shares the exact same build as your average top-12 NFL wideout.
Perriman's pedigree and size are just the tipping point for his potential as an elite player in the NFL. Indeed, it was actually Perriman's Pro Day that turned the heads of scouts around the NFL and catapaulted him into national conversations as a top-tier option at his position.
In his pro day, Perriman recorded metrics that not only beat out the numbers put up by the man he'll be replacing in Torrey Smith, but also rival that of other great, explosive stars, most notably A.J. Green, Mohamed Sanu, and fellow NFL draftee DeVante Parker.
|Breshad Perriman||6' 2"||212||32"||9.25"||18||36.5||127||4.24|
|A.J. Green||6' 4"||211||34.4"||9.25"||18||34.5||126||4.48|
|Mohamed Sanu||6' 2"||211||33.5"||10.1"||19||36||126||4.67|
|DeVante Parker||6' 3"||209||33.25"||9.25"||17||36.5||125||4.45|
While Perriman's size and build alongside his explosiveness are directly on par with these other highly regarded receivers, what makes Perriman truly stand out is his 40-yard dash time. While the three other receivers on our list clocked in with an average time of 4.53 seconds, Perriman possess an elite sub-4.30 time. To reiterate how amazing this is, his 4.24 mark tops the list of all receivers participating in the Combine for the last 16 years.
And while some scouts were a bit surprised by how well Perriman tested in the 40, his teammates were not. Remarking on Breshad's speed, UCF teammate Justin Tukes once described a ball chasing drill where "Anytime Breshad got the ball, there was no need to chase the ball. He had already left us."
But Breshad isn't just a metric freak. Trained in the nuances of the position by his father, he also knows how to play the position. In this regard, when watching him on film it quickly becomes apparent that his comparisons to A.J. Green go beyond his pro day numbers.
Just like A.J., Breshad demonstrates excellent body control and an ability to adjust to the football. Indeed, time and again, Perriman can be seen making numerous plays that mirror those made by his NFL counterpart as demonstrated in these two nearly identical grabs by Perriman and Green.
Using this playmaking ability Perriman was able to amass 50 receptions for 1,044 yards and 9 touchdowns his final season at UCF. While these are quite impressive numbers -- he accounted for 34% of his team's passing offense in 2014 -- given his size and speed, imagine what Perriman could have done had his quarterback been able to hit him in stride.
Perriman in Baltimore
Fans worried that the Ravens wide receiving corps consisted of an aging Steve Smith, Sr., an unproven Kamar Aiken, and an underwhelming Marlon Brown can breathe a sigh of relief. After losing stud wideout Torrey Smith to the 49ers in free agency earlier this offseason, Baltimore's front office responded by drafting a bigger, faster receiver as his replacement in Breshad Perriman.
But as I mentioned above, with comparisons to A.J. Green, Perriman brings to this team more than just a replacement deep threat to complement Joe Flacco's strong arm.
His ability to adjust to the ball and provide a big target for Flacco will help boost the Ravens passing game, which according to our advanced Net Expected Points metrics was already ranked 8th in the league last season when adjusted for strength-of-schedule (read more about Net Expected Points, or NEP, in our glossary).
With Torrey Smith accounting for 80% of the Ravens passing offense in 2014 according to Passing NEP, it's clear that Perriman has some very big shoes to fill. But with his pedigree, his very favorable metrics, and with an excellent all-around game that he displayed during his time at UCF, Breshad is more than capable of keeping the Ravens offense soaring in 2015.