When Ravens first-round wide receiver Breshad Perriman initially reported for rookie camp in May, he hardly knew how to get in a proper stance.
Flip the calendar three months forward and Perriman enters training camp as a drastically better player, and he's put himself in position to contend for a starting position (or at least a lot of snaps) right away.
"I think I've made a tremendous amount of progress," Perriman said Wednesday on the eve of the first full-team training camp practice.
"I think I've gained a big difference in the playbook and just the overall speed of the game and technique-wise coming in and out of my breaks has improved,as well."
The Central Florida product was a first-round pick largely because of his prototype tools. He comes with a 40-yard dash time of 4.25 seconds, paired with 6-foot-2, 212-pound size.
In the NFL, however, it takes more than size and a drool-worthy skillset to become a successful offensive weapon. Perriman has been honing his craft this summer, working on all the details to become a starting-caliber wideout.
It starts, literally and figuratively, with his stance. In college, Perriman leaned too far forward, putting his weight on his front leg. Wide Receivers Coach Bobby Engram has worked with him to be more balanced in his stance, which translates to more power coming off the line.
"Now that I go back and look at my college film and see my college stance, it was pretty bad," Perriman said with a laugh. "I guess I didn't think it was that important until now. The stance starts it all. The way you come off the ball, it will play a vital part."
Those initial couple steps are also critical. Perriman said Engram has particularly helped him with getting off press coverage and his release when cornerbacks are jamming him. Perriman has the size to shake bigger corners and will only get stronger.
So what's been the biggest adjustment?
"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 certainly has the speed to keep up. As running back Justin Forsett said, "the speed is as advertised."
The aspect of Perriman's game that critics have harped on most is his hands. Perriman showed solid hands throughout most of Organized Team Activities and minicamp, but he did have one practice with about four drops, which has continued the narrative.
Where Perriman admits he gets into trouble with his hands when he gets tired. And he will definitely be tired at points of training camp. Perriman admitted he needs to continue to push himself a little more during those moments.
"I know when I get tired, my mind starts wondering and things, not really go downhill, but I feel like I'm not as consistent," Perriman said. "So that's something that I've been preparing myself for and I think I'll do just fine with it."