The Baltimore Ravens came into the 1st Round of the NFL Draft this evening with notable needs at defensive back, wide receiver, tight end, running back, and pass rusher. Of course, the Ravens do not draft only on need, they go by their mantra of best player available. So with ten picks to use over the course of the next three days and seven rounds, how many times will Baltimore’s team needs match up with best player available?
With the 26th pick in the first round, the Ravens started their 2015 selections by choosing Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman. Perriman, the son of 10-year NFL veteran Brett Perriman, is a physical specimen at 6’2″ with a sub-4.3 40-yard dash. The UCF standout led his team with 20.8 yards per catch and nine touchdowns.
Does this fill a need?
The Ravens certainly hope so. There was a clear need for deep speed at wide receiver with the losses of Torrey Smith and Jacoby Jones and Perriman should in the very least provide that in spades. As a first rounder he will be expected to develop into more eventually, but as a rookie should at least be able to provide Joe Flacco with a consistent option deep.
Perriman isn’t perfect. Scouts question his hands and his route running has been criticized by some for being too raw. Many Ravens fans are likely on the fence, worried that we’ll be seeing a redux of Mark Clayton and Travis Taylor, two previous first round wide receiver busts.
Personally, I wanted to see the Ravens go wide receiver at their pick, especially when the two corners available (Kevin Johnson and Marcus Peters) were both off the board. However, Perriman wasn’t the player I wanted to see picked. That would be Arizona State’s Jaelen Strong.
I’m certainly not a scout, but Strong reminded me a lot of Anquan Boldin and the thought of having a young Boldin working with Flacco was very enticing. But as we say this time of year, “In Ozzie We Trust!”
Perriman has a lot of talent and now it is up to the Ravens to get him coached up and ready for the season. I have my fingers crossed that he will become the wide receiver that the Ravens and fans have coveted for too long.