“I sure hope that Breshad Perriman becomes a true No. 1. To me, there are signs that is possible. But he has a ways to go; he has a lot of work to do to get it done. You see the radius and you see the speed, and I think you see that here is a guy who has a chance. Now, he has to refine his route-running, he has to refine his hands, his catching and just become an all-around really good receiver. This is his first year of practicing. He did not even have training camp. To me, there is a lot of upside there.” ~ John Harbaugh
For all intents and purposes, 2016 was Breshad Perriman’s rookie season. He received at least 1 target in every game except against Dallas, a game during which Joe Flacco missed a few big opportunities with the speedy former UCF Knight.
During 5 out of the last 6 weeks of the season, Perriman was targeted at least 3 times in each game and was targeted 13 times in the last two games against Pittsburgh and Cincinnati.
In those 5 games, his catch rate was at 57%. Not great, but better than his cumulative season average of 50%.
In total, Perriman caught 33 passes on 66 targets for 499 yards and 3 TD’s. He averaged 15.1 yards per reception, which was the most on the team. The next receiver was Mike Wallace who averaged 14.1 yards per catch.
Just for ish and giggles (and obviously this isn’t EXACT science/math) if Perriman’s targets increased from 66 to 100, that’s 50 receptions (based on his 50% catch rate), 755 yards, and 5 touchdowns. Now that’s not on the level of a No. 1 WR but for comparative purposes, let’s consider what some other highly regarded receivers did during their first/second years as full-time starters (including rookies):
I could go on, but my point is that I get why Harbaugh and his staff feel that Perriman could become a No. 1. The upside is absolutely there. He’s got the speed, size and the high-point ability to be a play maker in Marty Mornhinweg’s offense. He just needs to refine the nuances of route running, improve on his pre-snap reads and clean up the drops on easy passes with improved concentration (i.e. – stop trying to run before you’ve secured the ball).
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Clearly the Ravens need to add receivers, particularly with the departure of Steve Smith, Sr. There’s also a chance that the Ravens could part ways with Mike Wallace given his $8M cap figure in 2017.
Wallace faded down the stretch and had just 15 catches for 168 yards during the final quarter of the season. He also failed to catch a TD pass during the final 8 games. Perhaps that complementary veteran Ozzie alluded to during the State of the Ravens press and another guy in the draft is the way to go. I’m not entirely convinced that Camp can stay healthy and Chris Moore or Keenan Reynolds may never be more than special teams guys.
But back to Perriman, I hope they continue to increase the number of targets for him next season. Even if he can up his catch percentage into the high 50% range, that would be the difference between a 700-yard season and a 900-yard season.
And that would be progress.