By adding Breshad Perriman with the 26th overall pick in the first round, the Ravens made it clear that they want to go for the throat. A homerun hitter with the physical tools to excel in the NFL, Perriman will almost assuredly be a starter for the Ravens come week one against Denver.
But what does it really mean to the Ravens depth chart at wide receiver and how the Ravens will use him?
Well a lot of it will depend on how Perriman breaks down in training camp and preseason as well as what type of chemistry that he can get with quarterback Joe Flacco. Obviously a poor showing during camp and preseason probably will relegate the rookie to a deep threat package player only and possibly some special teams looks. But if Perriman were to look at least average leading up to the season, we can expect for him to be one of the starting two wide receivers in new offensive coordinator Marc Trestman's system.
See, Trestman likes big fast receivers. Actually, he LOVES em. So it goes as no surprise that the Ravens selected one of the faster receivers in this year's draft and certainly one of the larger ones at that speed. A natural replacement for speedster and deep threat Torrey Smith after Smith's departure this offseason, Perriman should immediately fill a similar role in the Ravens' offense.
While Perriman's tape shows a player with only straight line speed and limited route running ability, little is needed for a deep threat other than to run fast and get over the top of the defense. Either the ball will be in the air by that point or he would have taken the top off the defense and opened up holes for other receivers underneath. And that is where Perriman's placement on the depth chart gets interesting.
I wouldn't expect Perriman to start the season as the number one receiver simply because he likely won't be polished enough and won't have had the time to work into the Ravens' new offensive scheme and gain the trust of quarterback Joe Flacco yet. I would however, expect Steve Smith to start the season as the number one receiver on the team's depth chart partly due to his experience and also from the level of trust that Smith gained last season as Flacco's more sure-handed and tough target.
Now, does Perriman make it second on the list above others like Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown and Michael Campanaro? Ultimately, I think that depends on how much any of those players have improved since last season. Both Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown have shown spurts of great play only to be followed by completely dissappearing for a few weeks. Also, both aren't really known as speedy players, but more big and tough receivers that are red zone targets.
If you know anything about the NFL, you ultimately know that depth charts are important, but players are often put into packages that fit the situation at hand. Once the Ravens get into the red zone, I could easily see Perriman coming out of the game due to the shortened field and limited room for his style of play to pay off. This would make way for players like Aiken and Brown to see the field in their own rights and play in a way that is more fitting of their skillsets. The same could be said about short yardage situations or tricky third downs where the Ravens will need to rely on a more sure handed receiver that will take a hit over the middle, than a speed guy going deep that won't have the same percentage of success a shorter throw would.
By the end of the season though, Perriman could be taking over the offense as things start to slow down around him and he can gel with the rest of the offense, much in the way that Torrey Smith was able to in his rookie season. All it really takes is one big throw to a player like Perriman and then it's off to the races with a guy on the Ravens' side that just can't be caught from behind. Not a bad weapon to have if you are Joe Flacco and the Ravens, no matter where you place him on the depth charts.