I have never been a scout or a NFL General Manager, but I am willing to watch a ton of football. By watching about 200 snaps of each prospect, we can really get a feel for a player and then know what we are talking about a bit better. It is no exact science, but the NFL hasn't quite figured out drafting either, so we are going to do the best we can.
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Breshad Perriman, WR, Central Florida - 6'3, 214 - Junior - 4.25 40 (Pro Day)
As someone who tries to stay on top of the draft game all year long, we sometimes get suspicious of the guy who arrives out of nowhere in the final few weeks. There are many reasons why people who try to know everything miss a guy, but, when it happens you want to look a bit more into the player. Why is everyone talking about Breshad Perriman in April when nobody mentioned him in January or November?
Well, sometimes, it is because he went to an off the radar school (scouts knew about him, but us media draft nerds were simply late to the party). Sometimes, it is because he is young and nobody expected him in the 2015 draft pool. Sometimes, it is because he had a spring workout that dropped jaws. And, yes, sometimes, it is all of the above.
Perriman is the son of Brett Perriman, the long-time Detroit Lions WR, and is a young player still figuring things out. He was very productive as a true sophomore with his QB Blake Bortles, and then somehow actually had a better junior season this year, despite his QB play falling off the table pretty substantially. To examine his talents, we looked at the East Carolina, Penn State, and NC State games from 2014.
What I liked: He is another large receiver with both a tall build and a muscular frame that makes him a real handful for most corners he faces. Then, you drop in that idea that he has absurd speed which was timed at his pro day somewhere in the 4.22-4.25 range, and you have a potential beast on your hands. His game tape showed that he had the ability to routinely kill teams over the top, but also an impressive handle on the route tree which demonstrated an all-around threat who has crossers and slants and outs that are equally damaging in total. He has a really impressive catch-radius and natural hands which snag the ball out of the air in a very convincing fashion. He had to over-come many under thrown balls, but generally kept a good posture and attitude and then bounced back for the next play. He sure looks the part of a guy who will fill highlight tapes out for years to come.
What I did not like: Well, first, he will drop a ball on you that he has no business dropping. That is the weird issue with certain receivers who have good hands, but then also drop 5-10 balls a season that hit them right where they want it. Is it concentration or bracing for a hit? Not sure, but he needs to clean that up. He also does look at times like he is in self-preservation mode over the middle, but again, I don't sound the alarms because sometimes he is running through traffic daring guys to hit him. It is inconsistency, but that is not uncommon for a young player. He just needs to be his best all of the time rather than most of the time. Other than that? He looks the part of a #1 WR who can play the X.
Summary: The more you look at the WRs in this class (and in 2014), the more you realize that there is no spot on the field with a greater depth of talent than the WR group. It really looks like there are 6-8 really fantastic prospects and that should drive the urgency to get one down a bit because it is tough to separate the 4th best WR from the 8th best. They are all really good players. Perriman is better than I first thought and I am convinced this is not all about a 40 time. However, 40-times will get him picked very highly because 4.22 is insane for a man this size. With that type of long speed to go along with the hands, the leaping, and the underneath work he can do, you can see why this guy has gone from out of most Top 100 lists last fall to now a guy that most expect to go in Round 1.
Sometimes, a late riser is proof that the draft process works. The more rocks you turn over, the more gems you find. I wouldn't place him up with White, Parker, and Cooper, but that next tier with Green-Beckham, Agholor, and Strong have some company here with Perriman.
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