While many cities and their fans were rejoicing about this being the first day of the 2015 NFL Draft, there were much more important matters going on in the city of Baltimore. As much of a football town as it’s known to be, the city has been focused on justice for Freddie Gray. A young black man that was in police custody and had fatal injuries that have yet to be explained. The past week has shown the full gamut of human emotion and it’s come out in many ways, many positive and some that were negative. Until there’s an official explanation, the city will not be focused on football like most other cities in the country.
The Baltimore Ravens picked 26th in the first round, the draft had included several surprise picks as well as a run on offensive tackles. There are few if any glaring holes on the Baltimore roster, GM Ozzie Newsome is known for reloading a roster as well as anyone in the league. Even when players depart in free agency or via trade, the Ravens are seldom left out in the cold from a talent standpoint.
Could they select a pass rusher, or a defensive back with the 26th pick? They are the Ravens and defense is their game, but Newsome couldn’t pass up the opportunity to replace a departed player with as close to a body double as possible. Baltimore lost the explosive Torrey Smith in free agency as he joined the San Francisco 49ers on a five year deal. There is talent at the position in Steve Smith Sr, Kamar Aiken, Marlon Brown, Jeremy Butler, and Mike Campanaro. What is lacking or was lacking prior to their first round selection was simple…speed.
Breshad Perriman provides just that, he can be the guy to stretch the field as Torrey Smith was often asked to do, only he comes in a slightly bigger package. Perriman stands 6’2 at 212 pounds, just two inches taller and a few pounds heavier than Torrey. At Central Florida, the speedy wideout averaged 20 yards a catch in back to back seasons. He ran the 40 yard dash in 4.22 and 4.27, crazy times for anyone, let alone a player of his size.
One of the biggest knocks on him coming into the draft was his tendency to drop the ball, not due to having bad hands but of the concentration variety. If he’s able to improve in that area and he should with Steve Smith Jr being able to be a mentor to him, Baltimore once again has the speed it needs to keep a defense honest. Especially with the arm that Flacco has, as usual, Ozzie stayed patient and reloaded. Smith and Flacco were downright scary when they hooked up downfield, if Perriman can play at that 4.22 speed that he ran the 40 in, defenses in their division won’t enjoy facing Baltimore’s offense.