Perriman has been the Ravens' most impressive receiver during OTAs according to teammate Dennis Pitta, Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports. The third-year wideout is lined up for a vastly increased role in the offense this season following Steve Smtih's retirement and Kamar Aiken's departure in free agency. He figures to start opposite Mike Wallace, and by all accounts, Perriman has been up to the challenge to this point. Only so much can be gleaned from OTA performances, but it's encouraging nonetheless that Perriman is healthy and making plays in practice.
Perriman expects to make good on his increased opportunity with a big 2017 season, Ryan Mink of the Ravens' official website reports. Selected 26th overall in the 2015 draft, Perriman endured a number of setbacks in his first two seasons, most notably missing his entire rookie campaign with a knee injury. He spent much of last offseason mourning the death of former Ravens cornerback Tray Walker -- Perriman's best friend on the team -- while also dealing with his father's recovery from a stroke. To top things off, Perriman missed training camp and the first three preseason games due to another knee injury, though he did still suit up for all 16 regular-season games. The rocky offseason likely contributed to a disappointing stat line of 33 catches for 499 yards and three touchdowns on 66 targets, but it does seem the Ravens expect Perriman to take a big third-year step, as the team didn't do anything to replace offseason departures Steve Smith (retirement) and Kamar Aiken (Colts). Perriman should be locked in as a starter across from Mike Wallace, with Michael Campanaro and Chris Moore the leading candidates for the No. 3 role.
Coach John Harbaugh is confident that Perriman can step into a larger role in 2017 following the retirement of Steve Smith and the potential release of Mike Wallace. "He's super talented. I think Breshad has really come a long way in terms of his work ethic, his attention to detail, his professionalism," said Harbaugh at his combine press conference. Perriman, 23, had a successful first full season as a pro in 2016 after sitting out his rookie season due to a knee issue. He reeled in 33 of his 66 targets for 499 yards and three touchdowns and truly began to flash his potential in the second half of the season. With Smith gone, that leaves 101 targets unaccounted for, and if Wallace departs as a cap casualty, that'd be another 117 targets that the Ravens would have to redistribute. Perriman would be the obvious choice to take on a larger role given his talent and his status as a former first-round pick. He already was entering 2017 with a brighter outlook following Smith's retirement, but if Wallace is to leave as well, Perriman would be the presumptive favorite to secure the No. 1 role out wide.
Coach John Harbaugh expressed optimism that Perriman could become the Ravens' No.1 receiver. "I sure hope that Breshad Perriman becomes a true No.1. To me, there are signs that that is possible. But he has a way to go...You see the radius and you see the speed, and I think you see that here is a guy who has a chance," said Harbaugh. Perriman showed major flashes of potential in his first healthy season as a professional this year, hauling in 33 of 66 targets for 499 yards (15.1 YPR) and three touchdowns. Those numbers could have been even more impressive if not for a touchdown that was called back in Week 17 when it was determined that he was down by contact before crossing the plane. Perriman could be looking at a major role increase in 2017 given Harbaugh's comments coupled with Steve Smith Sr.'s retirement and Kamar Aiken's potential departure. Harbaugh did point to a few areas of improvement for Perriman, such as route-running and catch rate, but those are issues that can be worked on during the offseason. Should Aiken leave, Perriman could move into a starting role opposite Mike Wallace in an offense where Baltimore's top two targets each saw over 100 targets in 2016.
Perriman nabbed four of eight targets for 62 yards in Sunday's loss to the Bengals. The catches and yards marked career highs for Perriman. Such modest personal bests were probably not what Baltimore had in mind when Perriman was drafted in the first round two years ago, but Perriman slowly got into a flow as the season went on. He caught at least three passes in five of the Ravens' final nine games and scored three touchdowns. With Steve Smith set to retire and Kamar Aiken heading toward free agency, Perriman should shoulder a larger role in the offense next season.
|* indicates player did not play that week|
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|11||11/19||@Green Bay Packers||33||29.11|
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