With the Baltimore Ravens’ first pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the team took wide receiver Breshad Perriman. Perriman was seens as a player who had big-play potential thanks to his size and speed. He was supposed to be the next Julio Jones and Calvin Johnson. the kind of receiver Joe Flacco never had.
As we know, you need more than size and speed to play wide receiver in the NFL.
Perriman has been hampered by injuries during his three-year career, to the point that he has never had a full scale training camp, and preseason. Not one year of truly getting practice time with the offense and chemistry with Flacco. When he has been on the field, it has just been an unmitigated disaster. Poor route running, and most importantly, an inability to catch a football or even the willingness to get up and get it.
The former first-round pick has been a drive-killer in an offense that just can't afford mistakes because of how limited they are. Numerous drives have been ended or damaged because of Perriman, and the Ravens seemed to have had enough after the loss to the Tennessee Titans. It was the same old story in Tennessee for Perriman, and after the bye week, head coach John Harbaugh decided to bench Perriman by making him a healthy inactive for the game against the Green Bay Packers.
The offense certainly didn't make any leaps and bounds without Perriman, but the threat of him hurting a drive didn't have to be accounted for. Harbuagh said on Wednesday that he still believes in Perriman and that he could be available against the Houston Texans on Monday Night.
That would be the wrong decision. Perriman must still be a healthy scratch for this week and beyond.
The Ravens have stuck by Perriman through a lot, and have explained that his benching was to clear his head. However, they have used that reason in the past, and Perriman still struggles with the same problems. Baltimore will never give up on a first round pick, but they really need to wonder when to just drop the Perriman experiment. If he can't catch and is not mentally there, what is his place on the team? Especially for an organization that has a lot riding on this season, and in the hunt for the playoffs with a big game coming up against a familiar opponent. Is it worth the risk to continue to play Perriman?
The options after him aren't that encouraging either. Chris Moore has struggled with his hands as well, and Michael Campanaro, for all his talents, has major injury issues. It's a situation that leaves the Ravens handcuffed, and again leads to wonder why Ozzie Newsome ignored the wide receiver position in the 2017 NFL Draft.
As much as it's something the Ravens don't want to do, it's something they have to do. Keeping Perriman out of the lineup and admitting their mistake will help Baltimore, and the Ravens are not in a position at this stage to have trust in an early draft pick who just doesn't get it. Think about Matt Elam. The team, in Elam's second year, realized he will never get it and admitted their mistake by benching him and placing Elam as a backup for the reminder of the 2014 season. If they can realize what Elam really was, they can do the same with Perriman.
Harbaugh was clearly trying to get Perriman involved early in the game against the Titans, but more drops occurred. The time to get him going was early in the season during Weeks 1-3, not in Week 9 when you are now in a dogfight for the playoffs and every game counts. It's simply not worth the risk at this point.