Baltimore Ravens: Breshad Perriman is the X-Factor for 2016 Season

Sep 27, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman (18) stands on the field before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 27, 2015; Baltimore, MD, USA; Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman (18) stands on the field before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at M&T Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports /

The Baltimore Ravens have brought in Mike Wallace and Ben Watson to give Joe Flacco more playmakers, but Breshad Perriman is the most important receiver of this season.

It is no secret that the Ravens needed players on both sides of the ball. They attacked their shortage of playmakers by making a splash in free agency, but it’s the player already on their roster that will have the biggest impact on the team this season.

Breshad Perriman was the Ravens first-round pick last season and was expected to have a major role on offense even in his rookie season. Baltimore needed a player with a skill set similar to Torrey Smith, who left them earlier in the offseason for the San Francisco 49ers. By selecting the former Central Florida product with the 26th pick, they acquired a player with the straight line speed that Torrey had, with the potential to round into a complete wide receiver.

That dream never came true as Perriman was injured on the opening day of training camp. We were told it was a minor injury and he would be back after a couple weeks. That turned into a month and ultimately the entire season was lost to an injury that many of us still do not understand.

The Ravens receiving corps will have a different look in 2016. By the end of the 2015 season, the wide receivers to dress on game day were Kamar Aiken, Chris Givens, Jeremy Butler and Chris Matthews. There is a strong possibility that Aiken is the only player to still be on the Ravens roster this year.

Joe Flacco will have a very solid group of receivers to throw to. Steve Smith Sr. is the leader of the group, but is coming off an injury to his Achilles. Michael Campanaro is also battling back from an injury. Mike Wallace is the newcomer to the offense and will provide another vertical threat. Aiken will make the roster also, which likely takes up all five receiver positions. All will be key components for the Ravens offense, but none are as important as Perriman going forward.

To say that the Ravens have a major investment in Perriman would be an understatement. Yes, he is a first-round pick and that instantly carries some pressure. More importantly for Baltimore, he is the only receiver that’s guaranteed to be on the 2017 roster.

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Smith is set to retire after this season. Wallace technically signed a two-year deal with the team, but the financial terms make it more of a one-year contract. Aiken is playing on a restricted tender and could end up with another team next season. Campanaro’s contract could make him a potential cut if he cannot get on the field again. Butler and Matthews will be given a shot in training camp, but the Ravens will not need them if everyone else plays to their ability.

Baltimore has been dying to come up with a homegrown talent at wide receiver since the inception of the franchise. The Ravens have had some success with aging receivers coming to the team and making an impact, – Anquan Boldin, Derrick Mason and Smith – but the best receiver to be drafted by the team is Torrey. Those who regularly watch the Ravens know that he never developed into the receiver that they had hoped for.

Perriman is still a project that needs work. The knock on Perriman has been his hands and hopefully he has done his part to correct that problem. However, there is no denying the speed he brings. Wallace is a one-year rental to add the speed that was desperately missing last season. It’s likely that Wallace gets most of the work in the early part of the season with Perriman getting more work down the stretch.

Perriman will basically be a second first rounder for the Ravens after sitting out his rookie year. The organization is hopeful that he is finally the breakthrough in the development of a wide receiver. Another failed experiment could leave them without legitimate threats next season.

Next: Who Will Still Be Available at No. 6 for the Ravens?

There is a lot of pressure on Perriman to perform right away even if he sat out all of last season. The Ravens need him to at least become a threat down the field in 2016 or the future of the position could be in doubt.