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Breshad Perriman carries chip on shoulder about criticism over dropped passes

5/1/2015

OWINGS MILLS, Md. -- At Friday's introductory news conference, Breshad Perriman didn't hesitate when asked if there is a wide receiver he compares himself to in the NFL. He immediately answered Julio Jones.

Perriman has the size like Jones. He certainly has the speed. What Perriman has to prove to reach Jones' level is the ability to catch the ball consistently.

When Perriman was selected by the Baltimore Ravens with the No. 26 overall pick, analysts were more focused on his drops than the fact that he's a matchup nightmare.

"That's something I have a chip on my shoulder about," Perriman said Friday afternoon. "At the end of the day, I know what I can do. I know I can catch. I did have some lack of concentration and some mental drops in this past season. That's something I've been working on tremendously. I've never really seen it as a weakness. But I will use that as motivation."

This is the biggest flaw in his game. Last season, Perriman had nearly as many drops (eight) as touchdowns (nine) for Central Florida. His drop rate was 14 percent on 54 catchable targets.

"The No. 1 thing you have to do as a receiver is catch the ball," ESPN analyst Jon Gruden said. "You've got to be a reliable catcher. The one thing I can't understand with Perriman is you have all this talent and I have plenty of tape where he is making circus catches and then there is just way too many drops. These balls are easy catches."

Perriman has everything you can't teach, which is why he was the fifth wide receiver drafted Thursday night. The Ravens have expressed no concern about Perriman's drops.

"Those are just a matter of focusing in on the ball and making sure that’s the No. 1 thing," general manager Ozzie Newsome said. "There will be a lot of opportunities for Bobby [Engram] to work with him just on that one thing. But he has all the other elements."

Ravens officials don't expect to see Perriman producing like Julio Jones right away. Jones caught 54 passes for 959 yards and eight touchdowns as a rookie in 2011.

Perriman is more of a developmental prospect, and the Ravens expect him to get better every season because of his work ethic.

His father Brett Perriman, who played 10 seasons in the NFL, gave him one piece of advice on succeeding in the NFL: Hard work beats everything.

"You can't rely on talent all the time," Perriman said. "At this level, everybody is talented. You have to beat your competitors with hard work."

In addition to Jones, Perriman has drawn comparisons to Dez Bryant, Josh Gordon and even Alshon Jeffery, who produced big numbers in Marc Trestman's offenses in Chicago.

What shouldn't get lost is how unique of a talent Perriman is. He is the 22nd wide receiver taken by the Ravens in 20 drafts, and no one has ever had Perriman's combination of size and speed.

"To me, you take him as his own guy for his skill set and his ability," Engram said. "We're excited about what he's going to bring to the Ravens."