Baltimore Ravens: Does a First-Round Pick Mean Starter?


Breshad Perriman (Central Florida) is selected as the 26th overall pick in the NFL draft. He is only the second wide receiver to be picked by the Baltimore Ravens in the first round. Mandatory Credit: Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Ravens have key rookies this year, but the lingering question through the offseason is who’s going to start and who’s not? It could be said the second or third-year players have the advantage over even the most talented rookies, because they know the system already. Joe Serpico just went over why the experts believe the rookies should not start week one.

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Rookie wide receivers Breshad Perriman, Darren Waller, DeAndre Carter and Cam Worthy are all competing for roster spots. More importantly, a starting spot sits open next to veteran Steve Smith Sr.

All the talk has been about Perriman starting and being a deep threat for Joe Flacco. However, minicamp has shown that he has a lot of competition from the second-year players. Jeremy Butler made a lot of noise for himself during the team practices, and if he can continue it, Waller and Worthy have just found themselves on the bubble that could burst.

As Perriman battles for a starting position, he treads in territory not often visited by the Ravens’ draft picks. The team has only ever drafted a wide receiver with their first-round pick once before in 2005 with Mark Clayton.

The former first-round pick never started an entire season with the Ravens, but he did start the majority of the games. However, he never eclipsed 1,000 yards in a season.

Baltimore’s most recent first-round pick C.J. Mosley started all 16 games and ended up playing an important part in the defense. However, his case is not very common for those in previous years.

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Safety Matt Elam was drafted in the first round, but he started the season on the bench before becoming a starter. Although, after being a starter, his playing time decreased in his second year after his ability became less than sufficient in a starting role.

Linebacker Courtney Upshaw started the season on the bench his rookie year in 2012 before ending up being a starter nine times. He started 13 games in his second year and 14 last season after being selected in the first round.

In 2011, Jimmy Smith joined the Ravens as a first-round pick, and he did not receive his first start of three until week 13. Now, he is one of the team’s best cornerbacks after not becoming a regular starter until his third year in the league.

Perriman could be a starter if the Ravens need him, or he could start on the bench if other receivers are able to fulfill the team’s needs.

In 2008 and 2009 (no first-round pick in 2010), Flacco and Michael Oher were drafted; each became 16-game starters immediately. With their scenarios, they filled a need the team had at the time.

Perriman could very well be an immediate starter, if the team needs him to be. Simply because he is a first-round pick with talent does not guarantee him a starting position. If the other receivers turn out to be unable to provide what the Ravens need at the wide receiver position, the former Central Florida receiver needs to be able to step up and provide it.

If the Ravens’ history with first-round picks says anything, Perriman will most likely start the season on the bench, but he still could be given playing time. If he does not, he will have more chances in the future.

Next: Baltimore Ravens Rookies Should Not Start Week One