It is true that the Baltimore Ravens have not had the best success in the NFL Draft when it comes to selecting players at the wide receiver position. There is ample enough history to confirm that; after all, most of their best receivers in team history have been free agents. Both of their starting wide receiver just last year were free agents.
So it was met with a good deal of skepticism when the Ravens used their first-round draft pick in 2015 to select wide receiver Breshad Perriman, a tall wide receiver with some speed, but also notable for having drop issues, and generally remaining unpolished.
The early portions of his career would suggest that it was another typical Ravens draftee at wide receiver, but to their, and his, defense, Perriman has had a number of obstacles step in his way when it comes to emerging as a contributor, let alone as a star.
Most will probably remember the fact that he suffered a knee injury during his rookie season that ultimately caused him to miss the entirety of his rookie season. During the subsequent offseason, he lost his best friend, and his father nearly died of a stroke. Then he suffered another knee injury that kept him out of training camp.
The bottom line is that he has spent quite a bit of time not improving on the practice field over the course of his first two seasons, but at least he finally managed to contribute in 2016. He only caught half of his 66 targets on the season, but finished with a stat line of 33 receptions for 499 yards and three touchdowns. Certainly not nothing, and that was largely function in a third receiver role.
Following the retirement of Steve Smith and the free-agency departure of Kamar Aiken, Perriman is in a clear position to assume a starting role across from Mike Wallace, who emerged with the Ravens last year after joining them as a free agent.
Baltimore is counting on him, and he believes that the hope in well-placed. “I can’t wait”, he told reporters recently about the opportunity in front of him. “I’ve been waiting for this moment all along. I’m expecting a huge year from me, to be honest with you”.
Perriman wrote down some goals that he wanted to meet during the year, and one of them was staying healthy and playing in all 16 games. He might not have hit on some of the other statistical checkpoints, but staying healthy during the season was an important accomplishment for him and the team.
“That was big”, he said about staying on the field. “I felt like all along I could stay healthy. The injuries that happened my rookie year were freak accidents. I never thought of myself as injury-prone. My goal was to stay healthy and it happened, and I want to build on that this year”.