So Far So Good For Perriman
First impressions matter.
And so far, wide receiver Breshad Perriman is leaving a good one.
Just ask CSNBaltimore.com's Clifton Brown, who named three things that immediately stood out to him while getting an up-close look at the Ravens' first-rounder: 1) Perriman's size, 2) his potential as a possession receiver and 3) his strong hands.
Yes, you read those points correctly … despite his reputation for speed and drops.
When one first meets Perriman, you can't help but notice his strong 6-foot-2, 212-pound frame.
"He's a bigger guy than sometimes advertised," Brown said. "In person, he's strong up top and he's not just a speed guy."
Perriman's speed makes him the perfect candidate to replace burner Torrey Smith. After Smith left via free agency to San Francisco, they needed somebody that could stretch the field and threaten opposing defenses. They got that in Perriman, as safeties will have to respect Perriman's ability to get over the top.
But Brown believes Perriman brings even more to the table.
"I think in addition to being a deep threat, which is his primary strength, he'll be a guy who the Ravens hope can be a possession receiver as well, make some tough catches over the middle," he said.
The Ravens could use the help in the slot. Despite having Steve Smith Sr., Kamar Aiken and Marlon Brown on the roster last year, the Ravens ranked last in the NFL in receptions from receivers who lined up in the slot with 62, according to ESPN. For perspective, the New Orleans Saints ranked first with 144.
If Perriman can be both a deep threat* *and a possession guy, he just might develop into an all-around receiver the Ravens had hoped Torrey Smith would eventually become.
Then, there's the biggest knock on Perriman since he was drafted: the drops.
The only thing is he hasn't shown that to be a problem since he's been with the Ravens. There were reports he dropped a ball in rookie camp three weeks ago, but there haven't been any since.
"So, we've all talked about the drops, [but] we haven't seen that in practice so far," Brown said. "That's a good sign. The Ravens looked at this guy up and down before the draft and were convinced that dropping the football was not going to be a problem for him at the NFL level. If that's the case, I think he'll be a very good wide receiver.
"We'll have to see when he starts playing against other players, when he gets under the lights, will the drops become an issue? But I think so far so good."
This Raven Could Get Franchise Tag
If the Ravens can't get a contract extension done with kicker Justin Tucker before next offseason, don't be surprised if they take matters into their own hands to ensure he doesn't leave Baltimore.
They could use the franchise tag on the* *former rookie free agent, who has become an essential piece to their success.
A fan asked ESPN's Jamison Hensley whether the Ravens would use the tag on guard Kelechi Osemele, since it seems unlikely that they can afford both him and fellow guard Marshal Yanda. Hensley shot that idea down.
"My prediction for the tag in 2016 is kicker Justin Tucker," the ESPN reporter wrote.
"Ravens officials probably know they're going to have to make Tucker one of the highest-paid kickers, but it could be tough to reach a deal when St. Louis' Greg Zuerlein and Minnesota's Blair Walsh are looking to cash in as well. There is no chance of the Ravens letting the NFL's most accurate kicker walk away, so the franchise tag might be the only way Baltimore can keep him."
Not only does Tucker's stellar play make him a candidate, but so do the economics of the tag.
Tagging a kicker is much cheaper than tagging a guard. In fact, kicker is the cheapest, seeing as any tag is worth the average of the top 5 highest paid players at a particular position. Tagging Tucker would only cost in the neighborhood of $4.5 million. Tags for offensive linemen were above $12 million in 2015.
"It just makes financial sense to use a tag on a kicker," Hensley wrote.
Plus, the Ravens have insurance behind Osemele in rising second-year guard John Urschel. There is nobody on the roster that could replace Tucker.
Tucker Zumbas For ALS
Speaking of Tucker* *…
He joined O.J. Brigance and the Brigance Brigade at the downtown Baltimore Merritt Athletic Club for the second annual Zumbathon for ALS.
More than 100 Zumba dancers took part in the event, with instructors and Tucker on stage teaching participants with plenty of enthusiasm while Brigance cheered everyone on.
Check out the video of Tucker below getting his Zumba on.
(Hat tip Russell Street Report.)
Wes Welker Unlikely, But There's A Chance
Our own Ryan Mink was dead set against the Ravens entertaining the idea of bringing in former Broncos and Patriots receiver Wes Welker.
"No, no, no, no, NOOOOOOO!" Mink said in Friday's edition of Mailbag (mobile users click "View in browser" at the top of the page to watch).
Well, not everyone agrees with you, Mink.
ESPN's Field Yates named Baltimore as one of three potential landing spots for the concussion-prone 34-year-old slot receiver. The other two spots were Houston and New England.
For Baltimore, Yates says Welker would especially make sense if second-year slot receiver Michael Campanaro can't stay healthy.
"Slot receiver Michael Campanaro is dealing with a slight tear in his hamstring that will keep him out of action until training camp," wrote Yates. "The Ravens are currently carrying 11 receivers on their roster, but five are rookies. Welker would bring veteran experience and a receiver presence at or near the line of scrimmage to the group."
Hensley splits the difference between Mink and Yates.
"I wouldn't say [chances are] great, but I wouldn't rule it out entirely either," Hensley wrote. "It was evident how much it helped the Ravens offense when Joe Flacco had a shifty target like Campanaro in the slot for a few games last season."
Hensley points to the Ravens slot issues last year, which I referred to above (Baltimore ranked last in slot receiver catches last season), as a reason to sign Welker.
- [Undrafted rookie DeAndre] Carter's ticket to the NFL may be his ability to return punts and kicks," wrote Brown. "The Ravens cut Jacoby Jones, who had been their primary returner for several seasons. Lardarius Webb and Michael Campanaro are candidates to replace Jones. But Webb is a starting cornerback who the Ravens want to protect from injury. Campanaro has already had trouble staying healthy, out until training camp with a quadriceps injury. That leaves a potential opening for Carter … The Ravens have had recent success with undrafted rookies, including wide receiver Marlon Brown and kicker Justin Tucker. Carter is another to keep an eye on." [CSNBaltimore.com]
- "The Ravens arguably had the NFL's best kicker-punter combination in the NFL last season," wrote Hensley. "Tucker was only one of two kickers (Atlanta's Matt Bryant was the other) to convert all of their field goals from inside 50 yards. He was 26 for 26. Koch was the only punter to rank in the top three in both gross and net punting average. His net punting average (43.3) led the NFL in 2014 and ranked fourth-best in league history. Both are entering their contract seasons. The Ravens won't let go of Tucker, one of the best young kickers in the league. Baltimore will have to either sign Tucker to a long-term deal or place the franchise tag on him. The decision with Koch could be tougher. He's the best punter in team history but turns 33 in August. There were only six punters over that age in the NFL last season." [ESPN]