OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Drawing predictable comparisons to Torrey Smith after being drafted with the 26th pick of the 2015 draft, new Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman envisions a higher upside for himself.
Asked which player he shares similarities with in the NFL, the Central Florida product likened himself to two-time Pro Bowl receiver Julio Jones. At 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds, Perriman’s frame stacks up favorably to the 6-foot-3, 220-pound Jones.
Baltimore hopes his kind of production will eventually follow as the Atlanta Falcons receiver has amassed more than 4,000 receiving yards and 26 touchdowns in only 49 career games.
“He’s kind of a big receiver like myself, but he can play as a small receiver as well,” Perriman said. “He can stretch the field vertically, he has great quickness, and he’s physical. That’s the one I like to compare myself to.”
Such a comparison may sound too ambitious for a player who competed in the American Athletic Conference, but the Ravens drafted Perriman with hopes of him developing into the high-impact No. 1 receiver quarterback Joe Flacco has never enjoyed in his career.
Perriman should appeal to new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman, who coached big targets like Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery in Chicago. Wide receivers coach Bobby Engram agrees with Perriman’s comparison to Jones, who was the sixth overall pick of the 2011 draft and led the NFC with 1,593 receiving yards last year.
“The same guy he mentioned, but you look at a guy like Alshon, [too],” Engram said. “There are a lot of bigger receivers in the league. To me, you take him as his own guy for his skill set and his ability. I’m excited for what he’s going to bring to the Ravens.”
Engram and Ravens national scouting direction Joe Douglas studied Perriman up close and personal during his pro day in which he ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing 4.22 seconds. This came after he didn’t work out at the NFL scouting combine in February due to a hamstring injury.
Such a performance certainly helped solidify Perriman as a first-round pick, but the Ravens liked more than his blinding speed. And that includes the way he caught the football, which is a concern talent evaluators have expressed about the 21-year-old Georgia native. Several members of the organization have expressed confidence that Perriman can improve his concentration in order to limit the drops that occasionally plagued him in college.
“We saw a guy that moved really well. Quick, agile for his size,” Engram said. “He caught the ball fluidly. Obviously, he ran really fast and I think that got everyone’s attention, but that was just a piece of the puzzle. When you’re evaluating and look at a guy like Breshad, you try to gather as much information as you can and make that decision. I feel very fortunate that we have him in the building.”
The Ravens know that Perriman isn’t a finished product, which is part of his appeal after he caught 50 passes for 1,044 yards and nine touchdowns in his junior season. He must refine his routes after being asked to primarily go vertical in college.
Despite the question marks, the Ravens see a young receiver who’s only going to get better after forgoing his senior season. Upon being selected on Thursday night, Perriman received very clear advice from his father Brett, who played 10 seasons in the NFL.
“Celebrate it. Enjoy the whole process,” Perriman said. “But when the day is over, it’s really time to go to work.”
“I like that message from Dad,” Engram added.