First impressions matter. And so far, wide receiver Breshad Perriman is leaving a good one.
Just ask CSNBaltimore.com’s Clifton Brown, who named three things that immediately stood out to him while getting an up-close look at the Ravens’ first-rounder: 1) Perriman’s size, 2) his potential as a possession receiver and 3) his strong hands.
“I think in addition to being a deep threat, which is his primary strength, he’ll be a guy who the Ravens hope can be a possession receiver as well, make some tough catches over the middle,” he said.
Then, there’s the biggest knock on Perriman since he was drafted: the drops.
The only thing is he hasn’t shown that to be a problem since he’s been with the Ravens. There were reports he dropped a ball in rookie camp three weeks ago, but there haven’t been any since.
The Ravens needed a receiver to replace Torrey Smith and Perriman fits the bill. He has great speed, so he’ll complement Steve L. Smith’s intermediate game. Throw in a pass-happy OC Marc Trestman and a solid quarterback in Joe Flacco and it all adds up to potentially heavy snaps and targets for Perriman, presuming he can pick things up quickly as a rookie.
There's a chance that Justin Forsett's reception total of 44 last season could possibly double this season. At last week's organized team activity, Forsett was catching a handful of screen passes. On Wednesday, he was pulling in passes over the middle and in the flats.
Ravens coach John Harbaugh said there has never been any talk of whether running backs will get increased chances as receivers and indicated that they've always been involved in the passing game whether it's checkdowns or play-action passes. "That will be a part of what we're doing," Harbaugh said. "It'll be a big part of it."
One of the mainstays of Marc Trestman's offense is getting the ball to his running backs in space. There have been seven instances where a running back has caught at least 69 passes in a season under Trestman: San Francisco's Derek Loville, Arizona's Larry Centers and Michael Pittman, Oakland's Charlie Garner (twice) and Chicago's Matt Forte (twice). In Trestman's two seasons in Chicago, Forte caught a total of 176 passes, which were 48 more than any other running back in the NFL.
"I'm excited about that -- being used more, going out wide or catching passes out of the backfield," Forsett said. "With Coach Trestman coming in, a lot of backs have had a lot of passes. Even in OTAs, I've been catching a lot of balls, so I make sure I am sharp on my routes and ready to be used that way as well."
This goes along with what we've been saying since the team hired Trestman -- Forsett is going to be very, very productive in PPR formats.
Broncos RB C.J. Anderson looks different.
His jersey fits looser, a symbol of how seriously he has taken his metamorphosis from an undrafted free agent to Pro Bowler. In the weeks leading to the Denver Broncos' organized training activity, Anderson modified his diet, ran hills and tracks in Colorado and California.
At this time a year ago, Anderson weighed 243 pounds. He checked in at 221 on Monday, two pounds less than he carried in the final few weeks of his breakout 2014 season.
On the verge of establishing himself as an impact player, he understands there are no second first impressions. He has buried himself in the playbook — he received pointers from Justin Forsett, a friend because of their Cal-Berkley connection — unwilling to concede anything to his competitors.
Anderson began to see starter-type touches in Week 10 with 17 touches for 163 yards and a touchdown against the Raiders. Over the final eight weeks, he averaged 24.0 touches for 132 yards and 1.3 TD, and was the #1 RB in that span. If the Broncos commit to Anderson (and why wouldn’t they?), he should thrive under new HC Gary Kubiak, who just coaxed a career year out of journeyman Forsett.
In one sense, that’s a bit of a dice roll. As ESPN’s Jamison Hensley pointed out Monday, the last 36-year-old NFL receiver to surpass 1,000 yards in a season was Joey Galloway in 2007. It’s only happened five times in league history. There does seem to be a ceiling of sorts for receivers his age.
But if anyone is going to become the next guy to do it, it’s probably Smith. Last season, he made more receptions for Baltimore at age 35 than he did for Carolina at age 30 in 2009. He caught 41 passes in the first half of the season and 38 in the second half, so he didn’t wear down. His eight playoff catches included one for a touchdown against Darrelle Revis.
Now the issue becomes how to get the same production from him in 2015. It’s crucial to the Ravens’ prospects, given the relative inexperience of their other receivers.
Smith was the #20 WR in standard formats and #18 in PPR, but he did most of his damage in the first six weeks of the season when he was the #3 and #4 overall receiver, respectively. He was a fantasy WR4 the rest of the way, though he did have his moments. The Ravens can’t afford to put Smith out to pasture because they let Torrey Smith walk in free agency and the team’s receiver corps is severely lacking experience. Smith has some upside given his ADP (8th/9th round) and the arrival of pass-happy OC Marc Trestman, who should be able to figure out how to best utilize Smith’s skill set.
"Age comes, but football conditioning and routes and all that stuff, that doesn't change with age," Smith said. "Obviously, you probably have to start a little bit earlier. But yes, I'm 36 and I remember last year when I signed here [the media was not] expecting anything from a 35-year-old. Now, [the media] has to pick on me because I'm 36. I'm just going to play football and practice. I think I look halfway decent.
"I think there are teams that probably [are] drafting wide receivers hoping that they can get a guy fresh out of a college [who is] able to put up 1,000 yards [like] I did at 35, [and] they’re hoping a 20-something-year-old kid can do [it too]. I think age is a number, and you either show your age and that number over time … But right now, I feel good, and I’m playing well, so I think 36 is good.”
Smith was the #20 WR in standard formats and #18 in PPR, but he did most of his damage in the first six weeks of the season when he was #3 and #4, respectively. He was a fantasy WR4 the rest of the way, though he did have his moments. The Ravens can’t afford to put Smith out to pasture because they let Torrey Smith walk in free agency and the team’s receiver corps is severely lacking experience. Smith has some upside given his ADP (8th/9th round) and the arrival of pass-happy OC Marc Trestman, who should be able to figure out how to best utilize Smith’s skill set.
Forsett should see his PPR upside increase due to new OC Marc Trestman's tendency to use his running backs in the passing game. Under Trestman, Matt Forte caught 176 passes in the last two seasons, including 102 catches in 2014. Forsett caught 44 passes last season, and could potentially see that number double if he's the RB1 for the Ravens in 2015. However, the loss of OC Gary Kubiak is likely to hurt the Ravens’ running game. As the #8 RB in both standard and PPR formats in 2014, he’ll likely hold more value in PPR formats than in standard formats in 2015.
The Ravens’ running back piled up 235 carries during his breakout 2014 season, but the team’s other backs combined for 167 carries, which is a lot. Forsett can expect the same load in 2015, but plenty of opportunity exists behind him. Lorenzo Taliaferro moved piles at times as a rookie in 2014 and could be a short-yardage option, but my eyes are on rookie Buck Allen, who totaled almost 2,000 rushing and receiving yards for Southern Cal last season.
We don't project Forsett to see as many carries as he did in 2014 under then-OC Gary Kubiak. His new coordinator, Marc Trestman, favors a pass-heavy approach, and over the past two seasons, Trestman's Bears only averaged 380 carries. Conversely, the Ravens racked up 448 carries last season. If Forsett sees the same share (52.5%) of the Bears' two-year average, it works out to 200 carries. We project the Ravens for around 408 carries, since the team has said it hopes to keep Kubiak's rushing principles in place and HC John Harbaugh is an offensive-minded coach who can ensure that happens. The Ravens drafted Javorius Allen to contribute, so we believe Forsett's share of carries drops to around 42%, which yields 170 carries. However, we project Forsett to set a career high in catches (61.8) since Trestman loves to use his running backs in the passing game. This makes Forsett a good 3rd round value, especially in PPR formats.
Ravens WR Breshad Perriman enters a very favorable position to put up some big numbers in his rookie season. He is the decided favorite to begin the season as a starter over Marlon Brown, Kamar Aiken and Michael Campanaro. He has a shot to become the Ravens' No. 1 receiver because coach John Harbaugh talked about how he wanted to reduce Steve L Smith's snaps to save on his wear and tear. And Perriman's speed is the perfect complement to Joe Flacco's strong arm.
Perriman probably won't make many short lists for rookie of the year before the season, because he's considered a more raw prospect than some of the wide receivers taken in the first round. He has to improve his route running and consistency catching the ball, which is why he fell to the Ravens at No. 26 overall.
"We got a guy with a tremendous amount of talent who’s only going to get better," assistant general manager Eric DeCosta said. "I’m not going to say he’s 'elite' or this or that, but he’s a very talented guy. He’s motivated, he’s smart, it’s important to him, comes from a football family, and he’s on the come [up], and we’re going to get the most out of him as we can."
The interesting takeaway here may be that the team would like to limit Smith's snaps, though that may not be easy given the team's situation at receiver. Harbaugh recently talked up Brown, so perhaps he's planning to play Brown over Smith in some situations.
"We've seen Buck catch passes, we've seen Buck pass protect, so we know he can do it," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "He has done it out here and looks very smooth doing it. He's running the ball well. We haven't had any surprises."
Allen will likely learn behind Justin Forsett, who just signed a three-year deal after having a career year under former OC Gary Kubiak. With OC Marc Trestman in the fold, we're expecting Forsett (and eventually, Allen) to be very active in the passing game.
If Pitta starts the season on PUP, he won't be eligible to play in the first six games. It's not often that rookie tight ends are fantasy relevant. It's a tough position to learn and since it's a "onesie" position in most fantasy leagues, there isn't a ton of demand. Maxx Williams has a chance to be a factor at the position given the opportunity he has for playing time in Marc Trestman's pass-happy offense. Under Trestman, Martellus Bennett finished as the #10 and #5 TE in both PPR and standard formats in the last two seasons. If Williams has a great summer, he may be TE2-worthy in fantasy drafts.
It’s still too early to know exactly when TE Dennis Pitta will be back on Sundays, but he’s back alongside his teammates at practice and feeling pretty good. Those ruling him out for 2015 should take pause.
Asked point blank whether he’ll play this season, Pitta rolled his eyes and chuckled.
“I’m optimistic,” he said. “I feel good. But obviously it’s a process. I have an idea in mind of where I’d like to be in a couple months, but at the same time you don’t know. I know what it felt like to do this one time. I’ve never known what it felt like to do it twice.”
In terms of the injury being healed, Pitta is 100 percent. In terms of him being back in football shape, he’s not there yet. He can run and cut, he said. He’s running routes and catching passes.
“I’m certainly encouraged by what I’m able to do on the field,” he said. “Being out there, running routes, catching the football, that’s what I love to do. So it’s fun to be able to do that a little bit.”
We're going to wait and see how Pitta's offseason progresses before counting him in for 2015. His potential recovery will have a big impact on Maxx Williams' playing time and upside in Marc Trestman's pass-happy offense.
"I'm happy with Breshad," Flacco said, per the team's official website. "He looks really good. He looks big, powerful, runs well."
At 6-foot-2 and 212 pounds, Perriman gives Marc Trestman's offense good size along with insane 4.24 speed. Viewed as a replacement for the departed Torrey Smith, the rookie out of Central Florida also arrives with questions about his hands after too many drops in college. Flacco, though, insists that hasn't been an issue in Baltimore.
"His hands look like they're really good. He looks like he has big, strong hands," Flacco said. "He snatches the ball out of the air."
The Ravens needed a receiver to replace Torrey Smith and Perriman fits the bill. He has great speed, so he’ll complement Steve L. Smith’s intermediate game. Throw in a pass-happy OC Marc Trestman and a solid quarterback in Joe Flacco and it all adds up to potentially heavy snaps and targets for Perriman, presuming he can pick things up quickly as a rookie. It's obviously an upgrade for Flacco, considering how the receiving corps was shaping up prior to the draft.
Wednesday, May 13, 2015, 10:28am
Monday, May 11, 2015, 9:37am
Wide receiver Darren Waller wasn't a difficult target for quarterbacks to find during the Ravens' rookie minicamp this past weekend. As he towered over defensive backs, the sixth-round NFL draft pick barely had to jump to catch a series of downfield passes.
At 6 feet 6, 238 pounds, with the athleticism to run the 40-yard dash in 4.46 seconds and record a 37-inch vertical leap, Waller is an intriguing developmental project because of his rare size-speed combination. He's the tallest and heaviest wide receiver on the Ravens' roster.
It's very unlikely that Waller will make much of a fantasy impact in 2015, but given his physical attributes, he's a player to monitor in dynasty formats.
Monday, May 11, 2015, 9:32am
WR DeAndre Carter is only 5 feet 8 and 185 pounds, but he was one of the quickest and most active players on the field in the portion of Ravens’ mincamp open to reporters on Saturday.
Carter was a coveted college free agent, but he looks up to Steve Smith, so signing with the Ravens made sense. He also had an extremely prolific college career, albeit against lesser competition. Carter caught 99 passes for 1,321 yards and 17 touchdowns last season and has return skills that could come into play with the Ravens looking to replace Jacoby Jones.
The article goes on to say that the Ravens' receiving lineup will be tough to crack, but the team is generally hurting for playmakers at the position. If Carter displays a skill set that the team needs, then he'll make the cut.