Breshad Perriman is back! After a rookie season that was derailed before it began, Perriman was on the field today for OTAs. Reports are that he seemed to be running at full speed, making sharp cuts, and wasn’t wearing a brace. That’s all good news for the Ravens and their fans. A healthy Perriman would bring a dangerous weapon to the offense. Perriman will face some serious challenges as he enters 2016. The most important is staying healthy, but not far behind will be his ability to handle being center-stage all summer.
The Ravens’ 2015 first-round pick will be under the microscope more so than any other player. Everyone will monitor the progress of Ronnie Stanley, this year’s sixth-overall pick, but offensive lineman typically fly under the radar. They say you know an offensive lineman is playing well when you don’t hear his name mentioned much.
Kamalei Correa and Bronson Kaufusi will draw a lot of attention as the Ravens try to rebound from a year where they lacked a pass rush. And everyone seems enamored with Keenan Reynolds despite the fact he was picked in the sixth round. But no one will be criticized or praised more for every step they take than Perriman.
He is only the third first-round pick the Ravens have used on a receiver. The other two were Travis Taylor in 2000 and Mark Clayton in 2005. Neither performed up to the expectations that come along with being a first-round pick, and whether it’s fair or not, because of his missed rookie season, Perriman is already drawing comparisons to them.
Now, the sentiment towards Perriman among fans is mainly on the Ravens, because they handled his situation so poorly all year long. That aside, a lot of impatient fans are already muttering, “here we go again,” and expect Perriman to follow a similar path to the one taken by Clayton and Taylor: Ravens first-round wide receivers who just never seem to pan out.
Remember when the biggest concern with Perriman was his hands? After the Ravens drafted him last year that was everyone’s favorite topic to discuss. After a lost rookie season, Perriman was still have to acclimate himself to the speed of the NFL, and assuming he can stay healthy, holding on to the ball will be one of his biggest challenges. Every time he drops a pass we’ll hear about it, and so will he. But after the frustration he faced last season, dealing with the media and shaking off a few dropped passes might not to be too hard.
Ravens fans are captivated by Perriman, but they’ve grown equally frustrated. Again, that’s not Perriman’s fault, but it’s the reality of the situation. Despite all his achievements and Pro Bowl picks Ozzie Newsome has always seemed to fall short when drafting receivers. Joe Flacco has never had a true number one receiver in his stable. When the Ravens drafted Perriman last year, the hope was he could become that, and maybe he still can.
Either way he’ll be in the spotlight more than ever, and it will be interesting to see how he responds to it.