Can Breshad Perriman Become Baltimore’s No. 1 Receiver?

Breshad Perriman’s short career has come under much scrutiny by fans of the Baltimore Ravens.  He’s been criticized for his redshirt rookie season, his knee injuries, and not becoming Joe Flacco’s no. 1 target.

The fact is, for the amount of time Perriman has been on the field, he’s played above reasonable expectations.

In Perriman’s first training camp practice after being the 26th-overall pick in the 2015 draft, he partially tore his PCL and ended up sitting out his entire rookie season.  Expectations should be tempered for any receiver who spends his first NFL season in rehab rather than on the field.

After his freak-injury, Perriman felt ready to finally contribute for the Ravens leading up to the 2016 season.  Then, another injury occurred.  He partially tore his ACL, and many believed this season would play out the same as 2015.  But, it didn’t.

Perriman finally made his NFL debut against the New Orleans Saints in Baltimore’s 4th preseason game.  Baltimore’s 1st-round receiver went on to play all 16 regular season games, contrary to popular belief post-injury.

He finished the season with 33 receptions, 499 yards, and 3 touchdowns.  Not too bad for a receiver with no NFL experience aside from a preseason game where 3rd-stringers play for their jobs.

Yet, he is still criticized for not being a game-breaker this early into his career.

Can Perriman become a legitimate No. 1 wide receiver for Flacco’s offense?

Doubters will point to his potential game-winning drop against the Washington Redskins, and his lack of consistency from game-to-game.  Many of his mistakes can be attributed to his lack of NFL experience, and none are unsolvable problems.

We may have our answer as early as the 2017 season.  Steve Smith Sr. retired and Kamar Aiken could seek employment elsewhere.  Two of Baltimore’s top four wide receivers could be gone next year, leaving Perriman a wide-open role as a starter.

Yes, Baltimore could draft a WR with their 16th-pick in the upcoming draft.  They could also sign someone like Alshon Jeffery in the offseason to take over as Flacco’s top threat.

Or, there is a possibility they roll the dice on Perriman taking a huge step in development.  Barring another injury set-back, he will have a full offseason to prepare with Flacco and OC Marty Mornhinweg.

As referred to earlier, Perriman muffed a game-winner against Washington because he could not keep his feet in bounds.  It was his first NFL play in that type of situation.  That type of mistake can be fixed, and receivers develop better footwork as their careers move forward.

Often, Perriman was nowhere to be found in the stat column during games (0 receptions @Dallas, 1 reception @New York).  With Smith Sr. and possibly Aiken gone, Perriman’s presence in games will become more prominent.  And hopefully, after learning under Smith Sr.’s wing for two years on and off the field, he can translate that to success on the field.

Perriman will have the opportunity to become the No. 1 receiver Baltimore needs him to be, but only time will tell if he has what it takes.

What are your thoughts on the wide receivers’ future with Baltimore?