Kamar Aiken has been turning heads during organized team activities.
After bouncing around the NFL his first few seasons, the undrafted UCF Knight landed on the Ravens’ practice squad in late October 2013. When injuries left the team thin at wide receiver last season Aiken was given his first significant opportunity. His chemistry with Joe Flacco was obvious during the final quarter of the regular season.
Word out of OTA’s is he’s picked up right where he left off and is currently running with the first team offense opposite Steve Smith.
Aiken’s emergence is a good story. If he can prove to be a consistent contributor, his success will serve as motivation to every other overlooked journeyman player.
His emergence could also serve another important purpose for the Ravens – taking a little bit of pressure off of Breshad Perriman.
When Perriman was drafted in the first round, the immediate expectation was that he starts week one. The draft choice seemed to perfectly blend the Ravens best player available strategy with their biggest need, a replacement for Torrey Smith.
The draft choice also resurrected the names Travis Taylor and Mark Clayton, and highlighted the Ravens previous blunders in selecting wide receivers in the first round. Combine that with Perriman’s issues with drops in his senior season at UCF and a lot of Ravens fans had mixed emotions of excitement and nervousness.
This certainly puts Breshad Perriman in a tough spot. There is no doubt that he possesses all the tools to be an elite playmaker in the NFL. Regardless, he will need to time to develop. Making comparisons to Taylor or Clayton every time that he drops a pass or makes a mistake his rookie season would be unreasonable. It would only make the pressure that much greater and more difficult to overcome.
In steps Kamar Aiken.
The fellow UCF Knight could certainly help alleviate some of that pressure should he be able to carry over what he did at the tail end of 2014 to the start of the season in 2015. While it’s surely difficult to gauge true success in OTA’s, the early returns have been positive. Aiken’s success would make the transition for Perriman much easier.
Expectations for Breshad Perriman are high, as they should be. It goes with the territory when you’re selected in the first round. Regardless of Kamar Aiken’s success, the spotlight will be on Perriman. But if Aiken can serve as a solid receiver opposite Steve Smith early in 2015, the light might not be quite as bright.
Without the additional pressure Perriman has a much better chance to make a significant impact in 2015.
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