Every April, the National Football league and it’s 32 teams welcome 250 brand new players to the league via the NFL Draft, in which players who have been in college at least three years from all three divisions of the NCAA are eligible to be drafted. Of those 250 or so players, 32 are drafted in the first round, immediately placing enormous expectations on them. Some of these players will go on to have long careers and become elite players, some will go on to have marginal professional careers, and some will not succeed and be labeled as “busts”.
As a franchise, the Baltimore Ravens and general manager Ozzie Newsome have built a reputation of drafting players in the first round who, with a couple of exceptions (remember Kyle Boller? Actually, you’re better off if you don’t) have gone on to have very successful, and in some cases, Hall Of Fame worthy NFL careers. Over the last few seasons, however, Newsome and his staff have made a couple of draft choices who, so far, have been questionable at best. One player in particular who has not lived up to their first round expectations, and has drawn a lot of criticism from fans and analysts alike throughout his three year NFL career is wide receiver Breshad Perriman.
It’s Time To End The Breshad Perriman Experiment
Perriman was drafted in the 2015 NFL Draft with the 26th pick out of Central Florida, becoming only the third player from Central Florida to be drafted in the first round (Dante Culpepper and Blake Bortles were the others). Perriman had a good career for the Knights, graduating as the program’s third all time leading receiver despite playing only three years for Central Florida. He was drafted by the Ravens at a time when the team was looking for a player who could be groomed into a franchise receiver and could become a deep threat weapon to compliment the strong arm of franchise quarterback Joe Flacco. Perriman had lofty expectations placed on him almost immediately, and to date, Perriman has widely failed to meet those expectations, frustrating a fanbase that has watched an offense slowly deteriorate over the last few seasons.
Looking back, you could say that Perriman’s troubles began before the Ravens even made him the #26 pick in 2015. There’s no arguing the fact that Perriman had a solid career in college, averaging 20.9 yards per catch in his final collegiate season for Central Florida in 2014. Scouts across the league agreed that he could be a valuable NFL asset for a deep ball throwing quarterback, and he backed this up by running a 4.24 in the 40 yard dash at the NFL Scouting Combine.
Speed Kills… Sometimes
But despite his blazing speed, scouts around the league concurred that Perriman had one big downside: his hands. Scouts across the league were almost unanimous in saying that Perriman’s blazing speed was hampered by the fact that he also had problems with catching and securing the football, which is obviously the most important trait for a wide receiver to have. There have been many wide receivers in NFL history who weren’t the quickest, but were almost guarantees to catch the football every time it was thrown their way.
Former Ravens wide receiver Anquan Boldin is a perfect example of this. Boldin was never the fastest receiver, but you knew that when the football was thrown Boldin’s way, if he could get his hands on it, 99 times out of 100 it would result in a catch. Scouts at the NFL Network even went as far as to say that Perriman has “disappointing hands that might always haunt him” and that “his drops will drive teams crazy”.
Failure to Launch
Now in his third season in the NFL, Perriman has done nothing so far to suggest that these scouting reports were inaccurate. He missed his entire rookie season due to injury, and in 2016, although he was able to play a full 16 games, Perriman was targeted 66 times, but managed just 33 catches for 499 yards and three touchdowns, while also dropping four passes. It was an offense that was set up well for Perriman to have a bigger impact, but he only managed to be the fourth leading receiver on the team, finishing behind Mike Wallace, a 37 year old, injury slowed Steve Smith, and tight end Dennis Pitta, who played a full season for the first time since the 2012 season due to various hip injuries. In short, Perriman fell well below his expectations.
2017 seemed to set up as a year in which Perriman would be able to have a breakout season, as the only other clear options at wide receiver were Wallace and the recently signed Jeremy Maclin, who was coming off a season in which he managed just 44 catches for Kansas City in 2016, one season removed from back to back 1,000 yard seasons in 2014 and 2015. But with two weeks to go in the 2017 season, Perriman has had nothing short of a disastrous season. He has been a healthy scratch off and on for a total of almost a third of the season, and, when active, has been targeted just 30 times, managing just eight catches for 63 yards, averaging just 7.9 yards per catch, with zero touchdowns.
And, to make matters worse for Perriman, he has also dropped six passes, two of which have bounced off his hands and led to interceptions for opposing defenses. He is currently the 11th leading receiver…..not in the NFL, but on his own team. Of the 10 players on the Ravens with more receiving yards than Perriman this season, three are tight ends, and two are running backs, including Danny Woodhead, who has played in just five games this season due to injury. Not only that, but he has been a healthy scratch in four games this season, and has not caught a pass in five of the 10 games he has been active for. This alone is pretty damning for a player of Perriman’s expectations coming out of college, especially when you consider that the leading receiver for the Ravens through 14 games is Wallace, with only 648 yards, on a team that is desperate for playmakers and help at wide receiver.
Sometimes, It’s Better To Cut Your Losses And Move On
So, what does all of this mean? It’s simple, really: the Breshad Perriman experiment has been a failed one, and, for the good of the team and of the fanbase, it’s time for the Baltimore Ravens to cut their losses and move on. I like Perriman, I wanted Perriman to succeed, but at this point, with this offense the way it is, it’s clear that Perriman does not belong on this team.
He has had every opportunity to step up and grab a role as the top receiver on a Baltimore offense that does not have a true number one receiver, and not only has Perriman not stepped up and taken advantage of the opportunity, but he has been woeful and, quite frankly, a waste of a spot on the 53 man roster. It’s hard, I understand, for a GM, Head Coach, and the rest of the staff to admit that they made a mistake when drafting a player and move on and try and find a solution, but this is exactly what needs to happen now.
Perriman has clearly been a bust, and up to this point has shown no signs of even being a marginal NFL receiver, much less someone who the Ravens used a coveted first round draft pick on, especially given the history that Baltimore has had with their first round picks. Why the Ravens have been so reluctant to admit they have made a mistake in the drafting of Perriman is unclear, but the time has come for the franchise, for the sake of the team, the coaches, the fans who pay really good money, and even for the sake of Perriman himself, to move on from a player who has clearly not lived up to his first round hype. Where the Ravens go from there in terms of finding a true number one receiver is unclear, but one thing is very clear: Breshad Perriman is not the answer for the Baltimore Ravens.
So, what do you think? Is it time for Baltimore to end the Breshad Perriman experiment? Sound off in the comments section below, let us know on Twitter @sports_stack or @McFleegle, and don’t forget to share this article and other articles on sports-stack.com.