Late For Work 5/13: Will Perriman Lead Rookie WR Class? Smith Sr. Responds To Hater On Birthday

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Could Perriman Have Biggest Impact Of 2015 Rookie WR Class?

Joe Flacco and Matt Ryan have been, and forever will be, compared to each other because they were the only two quarterbacks drafted in the first round of 2008.

Now, Breshad Perriman will forever be compared to the five other first-round receivers taken in the 2015 NFL Draft. And the competition is expected to be crazy good.

"Last year's wide receiver crop set the bar almost impossibly high, but this year's rookie class also has a chance to be special," wrote the peeps at NFL.com.

If Perriman's class comes anywhere close to the 2014 rookie receiver class, it would indeed be a special feat. Last year's group is believed by many to be the best in NFL history. Odell Beckham Jr. (Giants), Mike Evans (Bucs) and Kelvin Benjamin (Panthers) all went over 1,000 yards and Sammy Watkins (Bills) came close at 982.

All eyes are now on the 2015 class, and Around The NFL staff writers predicted which receiver will have the most yards this season.

An argument was made for four of the six first-rounders, including Perriman, who was the fifth receiver selected in the draft. Below are the arguments for each.

Amari Cooper (Raiders, No. 4 overall)"Cooper knows all about being the top option on a team with questionable receiving options. Kevin White has a higher ceiling long term than Cooper, but Oakland drafted the most pro-ready receiver of the bunch. Playing for Oakland will not help Cooper rack up yards, yet he would be our favorite to lead the entire group of receivers in targets. There is no question Cooper will be on the field nearly every snap and he has a smaller learning curve when it comes to defense recognition and route running at the NFL level. In short, he's the best bet to quickly adapt to his new surroundings." -- Gregg Rosenthal

Kevin White (Bears, No. 7)"A ready-made NFL wideout, White will hit the ground running alongside Alshon Jeffery in Chicago. With Jeffery necessitating additional coverage weekly, White will be one of the few rookie receivers who will face a No. 2 corner and few double teams. White's speed and run-after-the-catch ability should flourish in coordinator Adam Gase's system. For all his warts, Jay Cutler can still sling the ball and won't hesitate to chuck it to his top two options. White will get the targets and production in 2015 to lead another stellar rookie class of receivers."  -- Kevin Patra

Nelson Agholor (Eagles, No. 20)"This is all about location, location, location. Guys like Amari Cooper and Kevin White might end up having better careers, but USC wideout Nelson Agholor has the best chance to make an immediate splash. A polished route-runner with serious YAC ability, Agholor is a perfect fit for a Chip Kelly offense that's thin at wide receiver after Jeremy Maclin defected for Kansas City in free agency. Agholor's pro-ready tools should allow him to see the field quickly, and Kelly's high-volume approach will put Agholor in a great position to dwarf the production of some of his first-round contemporaries." -- Dan Hanzus

Breshad Perriman (Ravens, No. 26)"I'm rolling with Breshad Perriman, the freaky athlete and raw route runner who led one league executive to say: 'He's as talented as (DeVante Parker) and he's bigger and faster but I just don't trust him as much as I trust Parker as a first-round guy.' He's far from a finished product, but Perriman drew comparisons to Josh Gordon after finishing sixth in the FBS with 20.9 yards per catch at Central Florida. College stats don't mean much, but I look at that figure as a product of his 4.25 speed and 6-foot-2, 212-pound frame.

"It's not easy for rookie wideouts to produce, but his situation in Baltimore points to plenty of snaps right away. Beyond veteran Steve Smith, the Ravens are looking at paper-thin group led by Marlon Brown, Michael Campanaro and Aldrick Robinson. With Joe Flacco throwing the ball and Marc Trestman calling the plays, Perriman will make noise in 2015." -- Marc Sessler

Whoever leads the bunch, this is going to an entertaining ride …

Smith Sr. Waits Until Birthday To Respond To Hater

This is classic Steve Smith Sr. awesomeness.

Smith never forgets his haters. He still talks about a draft analysis piece saying the Panthers wasted a third-round pick on a "returner," not a receiver. That was from way back in 2001.

And he didn't disregard a tweet from a football fan, who called him "washed up" with a picture of a fragile, elderly man using a cane to hold himself up. It's unclear when the tweet was written, but Smith waited until his 36th birthday to fire back.

Been waiting for the right time!!! @AndyParker__ even at 36 I would put you to sleep... u cookie dough. #agent89 pic.twitter.com/70BmzYa7zK — Steve Smith Sr (@89SteveSmith) May 12, 2015

"The lesson remains: Don't poke Steve Smith," wrote Fox Sports' Brett Smiley. "His trash talk game is second to none and he always backs it up."

That would be accurate, Smiley.

Smith told fans to "put on your goggles" because there would be "blood and guts everywhere" when he faced the very team that released him after 13 seasons. All Smith did was catch seven passes for 139 yards and two touchdowns when Carolina and Baltimore met in a Week 4 matchup last season.

After the game, he declared: "I'm 35 years old, and I ran around those boys like they were schoolyard kids."

Smith led all Ravens receivers last season with 79 catches for 1,065 yards. The question remains: Can he do it again, despite being another year older?

"Don't bet against him," wrote CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown.

Head Coach John Harbaugh has said the he would like to give Smith fewer snaps this season to help preserve his stamina down the stretch of a grueling 16-game season. He had the most snaps of all Ravens receivers last season at 773, with Torrey Smith next in line at 741 and Brown at 356.

If Perriman and tight end Maxx Williams can play up to expectations, the Ravens won't need to rely on Smith as much. Despite having fewer snaps, Smith could still notch his ninth 1,000-yard season with fresher legs when he's on the field.

"The Ravens were happy Smith decided not to call it quits after last season, feeling he still had plenty left in the tank," Brown wrote. "How much longer Smith plays remains to be seen. But at age 36, you can bet that Smith will remain determined to prove he can still play at a high level."

Ravens Make 'Surprising' Move At No. 3 QB

When the Ravens announced Tuesday that they released last year's sixth-round quarterback Keith Wenning, The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec admitted the move was "a little surprising."

Baltimore had five quarterbacks on the roster, so they were likely to part ways with one. But last year's draft selection that spent the entire season learning the Ravens system? Wenning is now the only player from the 2014 draft class not on the roster.

What happened?

"[Wenning] disappointed in training camp and in limited preseason play," wrote ESPN's Jamison Hensley. "He lacked ideal arm strength and spent last season on the practice squad.

"Bryn Renner, who went undrafted last year, looked more impressive at last weekend's rookie minicamp than Wenning. Renner was a three-year starter at North Carolina. … [Wenning] was selected when Gary Kubiak was the team's offensive coordinator."

Ultimately, the Ravens are likely to only keep two quarterbacks on the 53-man regular-season roster, and Matt Schaub is a virtual lock as the backup behind starter Joe Flacco. That leaves room for one signal caller on the practice squad.

"Renner has the edge over undrafted rookie Jerry Lovelocke to get the No. 3 spot and go on the practice squad," Hensley wrote.

The Ravens also released rookie free agent outside linebacker Darius Allen and tight end Phillip Supernaw, whose "fate was sealed" when General Manager Ozzie Newsome drafted Williams and Nick Boyle a few weeks ago, says Zrebiec.

The team subsequently added three undrafted rookie free agents: Alabama guard Leon Brown, James Madison wide receiver Daniel Brown and Rhode Island inside linebacker Andrew Bose. 

No Secret Arrington Tops Ravens' Wish List

Harbaugh and Newsome made it clear last night during a conference call with PSL season ticket holders that they are looking for cornerback help.

And even though they didn't specifically address recently released cornerback Kyle Arrington despite a fan's question, Hensley says "it's no secret" that the former Patriot tops the Ravens' wish list.

"The top target is clearly Arrington after he was surprisingly released by the New England Patriots on Monday," Hensley wrote.

"In terms of the free agents available, it's Arrington and there's everyone else. He's a tough cover man who is strong in run support and on special teams. Arrington can fill the void at nickelback and serve as quality insurance if Jimmy Smith or Lardarius Webb get injured. … No one is suggesting Arrington is a Pro Bowl cornerback, but he might as well be viewed that way when looking at the alternatives. For that reason, Arrington isn't going to come cheap."

Quick Hits

  • "Ed Reed will be eligible for the Pro Football Hall of Fame Class of 2019 even though the ball-hawking safety retired last week," wrote Hensley. "Reed's eligibility begins five full seasons after being on a team's active roster and not when he officially retires, according to Joe Horrigan, the executive vice president of the Hall of Fame. His status isn't affected by the one-day contract signed last week, when he retired with the Baltimore Ravens." [ESPN]
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