The development of wide receiver Breshad Perriman remains extremely important to the Ravens as they continue planning for next season.
The team’s need for more production at wide receiver is clear. Steve Smith Sr. is retired and working for NFL Network. Only four Ravens wide receivers are under contract for next season – Perriman, Mike Wallace, Chris Moore, and Michael Campanaro.
It’s too early to call Perriman a bust as a first-round pick in 2015 (26th overall). However, Perriman has not given the Ravens what they expected to this point, after missing his entire rookie season with injuries, and catching 33 passes for 499 yards and three touchdowns last season.
When you draft a wide receiver in the first round, you expect him to develop into a 1,000-yard receiver.
Nine of the top 10 players in receiving yards in 2016 were drafted in the third round or higher. Five were drafted in the first round – Julio Jones of the Falcons, Odell Beckham Jr. of the Giants, Mike Evans of the Buccaneers, Brandin Cooks of the Saints, and Amari Cooper of the Raiders. Three were drafted in the second round – Jordy Nelson of the Packers, Michael Thomas of the Saints, and Jarvis Landry of the Dolphins - while T. Y. Hilton of the Colts was a third-round pick.
The only top-10 player in receiving yards who was drafted after the third round was Antonio Brown of the Steelers, a sixth-round pick in 2010.
Even if the Ravens acquire a veteran wide receiver in free agency, or spend a draft high pick on a wide receiver, they need more from Perriman starting next season.
“You do not have to have a true No. 1 to have a great passing attack,” coach John Harbaugh said after the season. “But I sure hope 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.”
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