When Torrey Smith signed with the 49ers, quarterback Joe Flacco lost his favorite deep threat. He could have a new one now. The Ravens used the No. 26 pick in Round 1 on UCF wide receiver Breshad Perriman, a physical 6'2", 212-pound with sub-4.3 40 speed. It was the speed/size combo that had Perriman's stock soaring ahead of the draft, and Flacco should be able to take advantage of it much the way he did with Smith. Perriman's hands were an issue throughout his time in college, and he lacks refinement as a route-runner. But the Ravens still have Steve Smith in tow and a strong run game, so they may be able to mask some of Perriman's weaknesses. Perriman will not be able to fill Torrey Smith's shoes in full immediately, but he could be better than him in the long run. The Ravens just have to be a little patient.
Strengths: As his career 19.5 yards-per-catch average implies, Perriman is an outstanding deep threat. But he's also adept at using his size and cut ability to get under coverage on slants and drags. Has a long wingspan that he knows how to use to beat close coverage for contested catches. Can be really tough to beat on 50/50 balls. Runs out of the snap well and digs his foot in to start a route. Big and physical enough to deal with press coverage, able to gain consistent yards after the catch. Could be a huge upside player for a team patient enough to deal with the raw spots in his palette.
Weaknesses: High-waisted player who gets a bit sluggish in his breaks at times—is not a sudden mover except in a straight line. May not have the pure burst and acceleration needed to be a top-class receiver; could be better cast as a complementary threat in an NFL passing game, though this could be partially countered with technique fixes. Will need to round out his route knowledge in the NFL. Must gain a better sense of concentration in traffic, and he must use his body better to avoid being re-directed too often.
Player comparison: Sidney Rice