Perriman appears to be a good catch for Ravens
OWINGS MILLS, Md. (AP) The tall, slender receiver sprints downfield as his dreadlocks flap from under his helmet. Hands outstretched, the rookie makes the catch and hustles the rest of the way into the end zone.
This slice of action from the Baltimore Ravens' minicamp on Wednesday involved top draft pick Breshard Perriman. It very well could have been a scene from 2011, when Torrey Smith arrived and made an immediate impression with his speed and unyielding work ethic.
Perriman was drafted with the 26th overall pick to essentially replace Smith, who signed as a free agent with the San Francisco 49ers in March after the salary cap strapped Ravens couldn't match the offer.
Smith was fast and a deep threat. So is Perriman. Smith had dreadlocks as a rookie. So does Perriman.
And there's more.
''It's an inevitable comparison,'' coach John Harbaugh said. ''Sure, he has braids just like Torrey did. But I'll tell you, the other thing I would compare to Torrey is the work ethic. They both have that kind of work ethic.''
Perriman finished his three seasons at Central Florida with 115 catches for 2,243 yards and 16 touchdowns. There's no disputing his speed, but the knock on the 6-foot-2, 212-pounder is that he drops too many passes. Perriman acknowledged the shortcoming on Tuesday after he let four passes escape his grasp.
''It's really all mental,'' he said. ''I talk to myself, tell myself the things that I need to do to complete those passes and just try to step it up a notch more.''
On Wednesday, things were different. Perriman made all the routine grabs and put on a show with his Smith-like catch and run on a fly pattern.
''There's always going to be scrutiny, especially on the first-round pick,'' Harbaugh said. ''But he's made a bunch of catches out here, really some phenomenal catches. That 9-route that he went and chased down was really a great play.''
Smith had his share of drops during his first season, but developed into an outstanding wide receiver. Perriman appears to have the potential to do the same.
''I feel like I'm doing a good job, but at the same time I'm striving for more,'' he said. ''I expect more from myself.''
Around the midpoint of Wednesday's session, Perriman sprinted 10 yards, cut to his left and made a nice grab of a sideline pass in front of veteran cornerback Lardarius Webb.
''With the dreads, he reminds of Torrey,'' Webb said. ''He's a hard worker, great draft pick. Yesterday had a couple dropped passes. He comes back today and makes big plays. It just shows his character, how he can bounce back. He didn't get down on himself. He came back strong. That's what we like to see from our young players.''
Veteran Steve Smith is a shoo-in to start in September, but no one else is guaranteed extensive playing time. The competition to join the fray includes Perriman, Marlon Brown, Kamar Aiken and Michael Campanero.
''I try not to think about the starting job or anything like that because I feel like I'd get thrown off track,'' Perriman said.
It's tough enough just getting used to the speed of the game, and that will only intensify at training camp next month.
''Breshard is doing a really good job and working to put it all together,'' Harbaugh said. ''That's the challenge for every rookie, but he has all the talent in the world. He's very determined, he's very talented, and he's going to do really well.''
AP NFL website: www.pro32.ap.org and www.twitter.com/AP-NFL