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Ravens rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman says he has made 'tremendous' progress

Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman speaks with reporters at the Under Armour Performance Center on first day of Ravens training camp.
Ravens wide receiver Breshad Perriman speaks with reporters at the Under Armour Performance Center on first day of Ravens training camp.(Kenneth K. Lam / Baltimore Sun)

The NFL education of Ravens rookie wide receiver Breshad Perriman has included everything from how to line up in his stance to understanding how fatigue can affect his concentration and hands.

He's also learning how to conduct himself in an NFL locker room. Quiet and understated, the first-round draft pick isn't nearly as introverted as he was when he arrived in Baltimore in late April.

"Yes, I feel like I'm opening up a little bit," Perriman said. "But that's just my personality to kind of sit back and lay low and watch how things go."

Since being drafted by the Ravens with the 26th overall pick, Perriman has made an early impression on his teammates for being arguably the fastest player on the roster in years and for his low-key personality.

The son of former NFL wide receiver Brett Perriman runs the 40-yard dash in 4.22 seconds. He's not flashy at all, though.

"He's a humble guy, quiet guy, seems very coachable," veteran running back Justin Forsett said. "And, shoot, his speed is as advertised. You can see it when he steps on the field right away, and I'm excited to have him on this offense."

Where Perriman is still making adjustments is in learning how to beat press coverage, absorbing the playbook and developing more consistent hands after dropping eight passes in his final season at Central Florida. Perriman reinforced the story line about his hands with a rough practice this spring with the Ravens where he dropped four passes.

Team officials said they're extremely pleased with how Perriman has responded to mistakes, his work ethic and his eagerness to learn.

"I think I made a tremendous amount of progress," Perriman said. "I think I'm getting well-adjusted to the playbook and just the overall speed of the game. I think technique-wise, me coming in and out of my breaks has been improving as well."

A major emphasis for Perriman this summer was upgrading his conditioning, including a lot of cardio workouts to try to maintain his fundamentals, refine his routes and catch the football.

"That was a main point of my training for the most part," Perriman said. "I feel like I know when I get tired, my mind starts wandering and things really go downhill, but I feel like I'm not as consistent. So, that's something that I've been preparing myself for and I feel like I'll do just fine with it."

Perriman is competing for an immediate starting job opposite five-time Pro Bowl wide receiver Steve Smith. The Ravens are banking on Perriman providing a deep threat as a replacement for Torrey Smith, the former Maryland standout who signed a five-year, $40 million contract this offseason with the San Francisco 49ers.

"It's actually a great honor," Perriman said of comparisons to Torrey Smith. "Torrey Smith is a heck of a receiver. He did a lot of great things for this team, and I'm just looking forward to coming in and [playing] his role."

Signed to a four-year, $8.705 million contract that includes a $4.59 million signing bonus and $7.09 million in total guaranteed money, Perriman represents the prototype for size and speed at 6 feet 2 and 212 pounds.

Perriman has worked closely with wide receivers coach Bobby Engram to improve his stance, which needed work during his first NFL practices and prevented him from getting a quick release downfield.

"Coach [Engram] has really showed me a lot of things, especially with the press release," Perriman said. "In college, you didn't see a lot of that and I feel like since I got here that's basically all you're going to get is straight press release. He helped me a lot, tremendously, with my stance, made me get more of a balanced stance and I'm more powerful coming out of it."

Perriman caught 115 passes for 2,243 yards and 16 touchdowns at Central Florida. That included 50 receptions for 1,044 yards and nine touchdowns as a junior before declaring early for the draft.

Despite his NFL pedigree from his father's background, playing in the NFL remains a big transition for Perriman.

“The speed of the game really surprised me,” Perriman said. “I didn’t think it was going to be that fast. The way everybody gets to the ball real fast and always strips for the ball, that surprised me.”

Perriman is aware of all of the talk surrounding his hands. He's aware there's only one way to change the conversation.

"I feel like the questions will stop sooner or later," Perriman said. "I feel like, for now, they're going to come and I'm completely fine with that. That's something I've been working on as well, and I really don't see it as a problem. They'll stop sooner or later, but, for now, I know they're going to come."

awilson@baltsun.com

twitter.com/RavensInsider

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