Ravens select WR Perriman with 26th pick in NFL draft
BALTIMORE (AP) Breshad Perriman knows a thing or two about the NFL, even though the wide receiver has never played a down in the pros.
Drafted 26th overall Thursday night by the Baltimore Ravens, Perriman is the son of former NFL wideout Brett Perriman, who had a 10-year career with New Orleans and Detroit.
Breshad Perriman left Central Florida after his junior season, but his pedigree should be beneficial in helping him make the transition to the NFL.
''The thing that I like about Perriman is he's grown up around the game of football,'' Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome said. ''The game is not going to be too big for him.''
Perriman caught 50 passes and averaged 21 yards per reception as a junior last season. He had a stretch of seven straight games with at least one TD and ended his college career with a run of 31 consecutive games with at least one reception.
The 6-foot-2, 212-pounder fills a huge void for the Ravens, who had taken a defensive player with their top pick in each of the past five years.
Newsome was determined to get a wide receiver in the draft after losing deep threat Torrey Smith to the San Francisco 49ers and releasing wideout Jacoby Jones. Steve Smith remains, but he turns 36 this month.
Kamar Aiken caught 24 passes for 267 yards and three touchdowns last season, and Marlon Brown had 24 receptions for 255 yards. Both showed promise, but neither appears ready to become the go-to guy when quarterback Joe Flacco opts to throw deep downfield.
Perriman, who ran a 4.22 40-yard dash at the UCF Pro Day, has the speed to outrun almost any cornerback.
''He brings an element to our offense that plays into Joe's strength in that he can be a vertical threat,'' Newsome said. ''But he also has the ability to run the full route tree.''
Perriman believes his upbringing makes him an untypical rookie.
''It plays a major role,'' he said in a conference call. ''Football has always been in my blood. Now it's my turn to play at the highest level of competition.''
Perriman worked out for the Ravens prior to the draft. The session went well and left him hoping for a lengthy return trip.
''I think I had my best visit by far,'' he said. ''That was the team I was wishing to go to. I know it's a great opportunity, and I can't wait to get there.''
The Ravens hired Marc Trestman as offensive coordinator after Gary Kubiak left to become coach of the Denver Broncos. Trestman inherits an offense that set franchise records with 409 points and 5,838 yards, but Newsome entered the draft looking to replace two key components of that attack - Torrey Smith and tight end Owen Daniels, who followed Kubiak to Denver.
Getting Perriman was essential, because Baltimore is also in the market for a tight end. Not only is Daniels gone, but Dennis Pitta's status is up in the air after he sustained a fractured hip for the second time in two years.
Perriman is ''a big, fast physical stallion,'' assistant GM Eric DeCosta said. ''He makes us a better football team.''
The Ravens have 10 picks in this draft. Newsome's reputation for finding talent is sound, but he's had problems in the past finding quality receivers. Some of his misfires were Devard Darling (third round, 2004), Demetrius Williams (fourth, 2006) and Yamon Figurs (third, 2007).
There was speculation that the Ravens might pick a cornerback in the first round. Baltimore's second was ravaged by injury last season, most notably to Jimmy Smith (foot) and Lardarius Webb (back). Six defensive backs were placed on injured reserve and 12 different cornerbacks were on the 53-man roster in 2014.
Newsome said there was some ''trade talk'' as the Ravens approached their pick, but he called Perriman as soon as Carolina picked at No. 25.
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