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As we begin the countdown to the NFL Draft starting on April 30,
I will spend anywhere from 4-8 hours to break down the strengths
and weaknesses of at least the top 15 offensive skill-position prospects
available in this draft.
Downfield Threat: Perriman averaged nearly
21 yards per catch over his final two college seasons.
Vitals College: Central Florida
Hands: 9 1/4”
The son of 10-year NFL veteran receiver Brett Perriman, Breshad
established himself as a big-play threat in 2013, recording a 91-yard
touchdown reception in the opener against Akron - the longest play
from scrimmage in school history – and beginning to flourish
while working in tandem with future No. 3 overall pick Blake Bortles.
Perriman’s per-catch average was eye-popping (20.8), but his
final line of 39-811-4 didn’t give UCF fans or onlookers much
of a reason to believe he was just over a year away from being a
potential first-round draft choice. Perriman maintained his stellar
per-catch average (20.9) as a junior despite Bortles’ departure
and became the clear go-to receiver in 2014, posting team-high totals
of 50 catches, 1,044 yards and nine receiving touchdowns despite
the scattershot accuracy of new quarterback Justin Holman. His game-ending
51-yard Hail Mary catch against East Carolina – in which several
Pirates badly misplayed the ball in the air – is probably
the reason why most casual fans knew of him during the college season
and was the play that clinched the Knights’ second consecutive
American Athletic Conference title. It also probably didn’t
hurt his cause when the time came to decide on all-conference honors
either; he was named to the All-AAC first team in his final campaign.
Best Scheme Fit: A vertical-based
offense; his ideal fit would be with a team that would allow him
to settle in with a “Perriman package” initially.
Should settle in as a No. 2 receiver down the road with No. 1
Nearly ideal mix of height, bulk and straight-line
speed; dynamic big-play threat that averaged nearly 21 yards
per catch over final two college seasons.
Uses thick, muscular build to block out defenders on
downfield throws; weight-room strength carries over to the field
– a powerful player after the catch.
Long stride gives him deceptive speed, which he routinely
uses to eat up the defensive back’s cushion; consistently
gets behind the defender on deep balls.
Snatches most short and intermediate throws with his
hands and is quick to transition from catch to run-after-catch;
not afraid to operate over the middle.
“Easy” accelerator that uses tempo to set
up defenders during route.
Flashes high-point ability, but mistimes jump too
often and isn’t as competitive on 50-50 balls as other
top-flight prospects in this draft class.
Shows the ability to adjust to a ball thrown outside
of his frame, but suffers far too many drops of catchable passes
(14 percent drop rate in 2014); fights the ball, especially
when working back to the quarterback.
Much like other bigger receivers, he can get too high
and is a bit stiff coming out of his break.
Allows defensive backs to redirect him more often than
he should; could stand to improve getting release off press
(although the sample size of instances where is getting jammed
is admittedly small because defenses fear his speed).
Concentration comes and goes; can make the spectacular
catch or maul a defender in the running game at times, but will
also gear it down a bit on occasion when he isn’t the
Whereas his father was a 5-9, 180-pound possession receiver for
most of his NFL career, the son is nearly the exact opposite as
a physical downfield receiver with more track speed than what
should be legal for a player his size. Perhaps the most surprising
part about Breshad, though, is that a son of a former pro receiver
isn’t a more precise route-runner. Still, Perriman is going
to go high in Round 1 because 6-2, 212-pound receivers that run
under 4.30 rarely ever fall far in any draft – no matter
how inconsistent their hands are – because the skill-set
is too tempting to ignore. High drop rates are worrisome for any
receiver – they are paid to catch the ball after all –
although his drops decreased as his final season progressed. So,
is the NFL team that selects him getting him as he is just beginning
to figure it out or is he just another size/speed phenomenon destined
to disappoint? There is evidence to lead interested teams down
either path, but the truth of the matter is that a player with
a drop rate around 13 or 14 percent has little to no shot to become
a No. 1 receiver in the NFL. However, the biggest problem for
a receiver that makes the difficult catch look easy and the easy
catch look difficult isn’t bad hands, but inconsistent focus.
He more than passes the eye test and has measureables that most
receivers can only dream of, but how long can NFL teams wait for
his down-to-down focus to improve? It’s a tricky question.
Considering he is most likely going to be a top-20 pick, there
is a high probability he will disappoint his future owners (real
and fantasy) early in his career. Perriman is a lesser-talented
and smaller version of Dorial Green-Beckham (but much less risky),
yet isn’t quite the receiver Jaelen Strong is at the moment
despite being a better prospect. Ideally, Perriman will get drafted
to a team that will allow him to start out as a third receiver
and evolve into a No. 2 over the next 2-3 years. At the moment,
I’d be hard-pressed to sell him as a first-round pick to
a general manager. In a draft so deep at the position, I’d
be tempted to wait until the second round and potentially snag
Miami’s Phillip Dorsett or Ohio State’s Devin Smith
if I wanted a receiver that could contribute as a deep threat
right away and possibly emerge into something more later in his
Doug Orth has written for FF Today since 2006 and appeared in
USA Today’s Fantasy Football Preview magazine in 2010 and
2011. He is also the host of USA Today’s hour-long, pre-kickoff
fantasy football internet chat every Sunday. Doug regularly appears
as a fantasy football analyst on Sirius XM’s “Fantasy
Drive” and for 106.7 The Fan (WJFK – Washington, D.C).
He is also a member of the Fantasy Sports Writers Association.
E-mail Doug or follow
him on Twitter.