Soon after the NFL draft, ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. predicted that Baltimore Ravens tight end Maxx Williams would win NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year. Now, Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman is getting similar attention.
Kevin Weidl of Scouts Inc. named Perriman among his top five candidates to win the award, describing him as a "wild-card pick." It's surprising that Perriman got this recognition over the likes of receivers Amari Cooper, Kevin White and DeVante Parker, all of whom were drafted higher in the first round.
Perriman enters a very favorable position to put up some big numbers in his rookie season. He is the decided favorite to begin the season as a starter over Marlon Brown, Kamar Aiken and Michael Campanaro. He has a shot to become the Ravens' No. 1 receiver because coach John Harbaugh talked about how he wanted to reduce Steve Smith's snaps to save on his wear and tear. And Perriman's speed is the perfect complement to Joe Flacco's strong arm.
Perriman probably won't make many short lists for rookie of the year before the season, because he's considered a more raw prospect than some of the wide receivers taken in the first round. He has to improve his route running and consistency catching the ball, which is why he fell to the Ravens at No. 26 overall.
"We got a guy with a tremendous amount of talent who’s only going to get better," assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. "I’m not going to say he’s 'elite' or this or that, but he’s a very talented guy. He’s motivated, he’s smart, it’s important to him, comes from a football family, and he’s on the come [up], and we’re going to get the most out of him as we can."
Still, in order for Perriman to win offensive rookie of the year, he'll have to break some trends:
No Ravens player has received votes for the offensive rookie of the year award since running back Jamal Lewis finished second to Mike Anderson in 2000.
The last AFC North player to be named top offensive rookie was Ben Roethlisberger in 2004.
No wide receiver from the AFC North (formerly AFC Central) has won since Carl Pickens in 1992.
Based on the Ravens' track record, Baltimore would be happy for any type of positive impact from Perriman. Of the 21 wide receivers previously drafted by the Ravens, only one (Torrey Smith) totaled more than 500 yards receiving in his rookie season.