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Comparing the two drastically different sides of Breshad Perriman’s 2019 season

Breshad Perriman
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Breshad Perriman was on his way to another disappointing season, but things changed in the blink of an eye once December rolled around.

With the 26th pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens invested in a lightning-quick receiver out of Central Florida, Breshad Perriman, kicking off a roller-coaster ride of a career that has seen more valleys than peaks.

After missing his entire rookie season with a PCL injury, Perriman was able to suit up for all 16 games in his second season, but only once he recovered from an ACL injury that he suffered in OTAs. Perriman showed flashes of big-play potential with his average of 15.1 yards per reception (13th among wide receivers). However, he struggled to separate consistently, ranking 117th among all players in receiving yards per game (31.2) as he attracted just 4.1 targets per game and reeled in only half of those (his 50.0% catch rate ranked 97th out of 114 wide receivers).

Baltimore hoped Perriman could take a leap in year three, but health got in the way once again. He strained his hamstring in August and missed the entire preseason, getting healthy just in time to suit up for Week 1.

Perhaps Perriman was not as healthy enough to play as he or the team may have thought, because his 2017 numbers are among the most gruesome the league has ever seen.

Across 35 targets, Perriman caught 10 passes for 77 yards and three first downs. Perriman’s average of 2.2 yards per target that season stands as the worst in league history (since targets were first tracked in 1992) by a wide receiver with at least 30 targets. His first down rate of 8.6% was about a quarter of the 2017 league average (33.9%), and the worst at his position that season. Playing time was not an issue either, as Perriman was hideously unproductive even on a per-route basis. His average of 0.36 yards per route run was the worst out of 126 qualified wide receivers.

Perriman missed one game with a concussion early that season, but he missed four games in the latter half simply by being placed on the inactive list due to his inadequate performance level.

Baltimore declined Perriman’s fifth-year option heading into 2018, but they stuck with him throughout the offseason, giving their former first-rounder one last chance.

Perriman was cut by the Ravens on Sept. 1 and signed by the Redskins 16 days later. He only lasted five days there before being waived.

The Browns added Perriman on Oct. 13 of 2018, and he would appear in each of Cleveland’s final 10 games. Perriman would become the Browns’ fourth wide receiver, averaging 24.8 offensive snaps per game over his final eight appearances.

Perriman thrived in his limited role with the Browns, showing consistent flashes of his talent for the first time. From Weeks 9-17 of 2018, Perriman ranked second out of 100 qualified wide receivers with 2.76 yards per route run (trailing T.Y. Hilton) and third with 14.5 yards per target. Perriman yanked in 15 of 23 targets over that span for 334 yards and 13 first downs (two of those being touchdowns), accomplishing that with just 15.1 receiving snaps per game (121 total).

On the season, Perriman averaged 13.6 yards per target, which stands as the seventh-best single-season mark ever recorded by a wide receiver with at least 20 targets. It was a small sample size, for sure, but Perriman showed legitimate promise for the first time.

The Buccaneers signed Perriman to a one-year, $4 million deal, and Perriman would have a 2019 season that featured a perfect blend of everything that had transpired in his career to date.

For 12 weeks, it was more of the same old disappointment from Perriman. But for the final five?

Pure magic.

Let’s dig into the numbers and film behind Perriman’s instantaneous rise from unproductive bust to unstoppable beast.

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