In 2015, Breshad Perriman was the fifth wide receiver selected in the NFL draft at pick 26 by the Baltimore Ravens. Just six picks prior, fellow receiver Nelson Agholor was selected by the Philadelphia Eagles.
Perriman now enters his fourth year with the Ravens and is widely considered to be a bust with one last chance to turn things around in Baltimore. Meanwhile, Agholor is still in the midst of celebrating winning the Super Bowl with this teammates, becoming a fan favorite along the way. Quite a stark difference. If you rewind the clock to this time last year however, it was Perriman trending upwards.
Missing his entire rookie season in 2015 with a knee injury suffered before the season, Perriman only had two years of playing time in the NFL, while missing games here and there. Meanwhile, Agholor played all three seasons so far.
In his first year playing, Perriman flashed major potential. He finished 2016 with 33 receptions for 499 yards and three touchdowns in 16 games. Modest numbers, but he was behind several other players on the depth chart.
Some of the incredible catches Perriman made that year gave fans reason to believe he could take the next step and become that number one receiver the Ravens needed. With the retirement of Steve Smith Sr. and the departure of Kamar Aiken, Perriman was moved up to the number two spot on the depth chart. He received tons of hype and praise leading up to the 2017 season. Sadly, he fell completely on his face, recording only 10 receptions for 77 yards and zero touchdowns in 11 games. Not many people expected such a drastic turn for the worst.
Now, Perriman faces a do-or-die situation heading into the 2018 season. He will have to fight just to make the final roster. His confidence last year seemed to hit a new low, and his performance took a major hit.
So, let’s sum things up for Breshad. He’s entering his third season of actually play time in the NFL, his confidence is shot, he’s labelled a bust, and is fighting just for a spot on the team. Sounds like the end of the road, right? Not exactly.
This time last year, that same exact sentence could’ve been written about Nelson Agholor, and now, a year later, he has completely turned things around and helped his team hoist the Lombardi Trophy.
The biggest problem Agholor faced before last season was his ability to catch the football. He accredited this to his mental state and overthinking everything, which caused untimely drops. After a particularly bad game against the Seahawks in 2016, Agholor told reporters, “I just have to get out of my own head. I’m pressing so much and worried about so many things. I’m thinking too much and it’s a selfish thing that needs to stop. I started getting in my own head and trying so hard to think about being perfect. Miscues were there and I let it just eat at me.”
Many Eagles fans had already given up on their first round receiver before the 2017 season. With the addition of Alshon Jeffery and Torrey Smith in free agency, Agholor was pushed down the depth chart. This lifted pressure off Nelson and allow him to clear his head.
In his first two years, Agholor combined for a measly 648 receiving yards and three touchdowns on 68 receptions. In 2017, he produced 768 yards and eight touchdowns on 62 receptions. He upped his yardage and touchdowns from his first two seasons combined. In the Super Bowl, Agholor posted 9 catches for 84 yards and made several drive-sustaining plays to help his team beat the New England Patriots in.
If Agholor can make such a stark turnaround, then why can’t Perriman? I have been guilty of wanting to give up on Breshad already, but sometimes it takes players longer than others to come into their own.
For receivers, the NFL is a completely different animal than college football. The competition is much more daunting and the playbooks and offenses become more complex. The pressure of being a first round wide receiver, who fans expect to be an instant star, is overwhelming.
Nobody hates how Perriman’s 2017 season unfolded more than him. This is his livelihood and future he is competing for in 2018. The Ravens coaching staff and players have nothing but good things to say about Perriman’s work ethic and determination off the field. He is a seemingly reserved young man who goes to work every day to be the best he can be. I’m sure it hurt him immensely for this season to be such a failure. He needs the support of the fans more than ever. It’s easy to become angry with players when they don’t perform, but at the end of the day we should want nothing but the best for those donning the purple & black. Perriman has spent his entire life getting to this point, so let’s give him one more shot in 2018.