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Is Breshad Perriman an upgrade over Robby Anderson? | New York Jets 2020 primer

Breshad Perriman
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New York Jets wide receiver Breshad Perriman‘s career strengths and weaknesses as told by the advanced analytics and film.

New York Jets training camp/2020 primers:

Here’s everything you need to know about Breshad Perriman as he enters 2020 looking to carry over his late-2019 breakout.

Four positive stats to maintain

Blistering finish to 2019

Over the final five weeks of 2019, Perriman ranked second among wide receivers in receiving yards (506), tied for first in receiving touchdowns (5), and tied for 11th in receptions (25), doing it all in a highly efficient fashion.

Breshad Perriman

Yards per target

Perriman’s volume of opportunities over the past two seasons has been small, but when targeted, he has delivered.

With 985 receiving yards over 94 targets with the Browns and Buccaneers over the past two seasons, Perriman has averaged 10.5 yards per target since 2018. That ranks third-best out of 85 wide receivers with at least 90 targets over that span, trailing only Mike Williams (10.7) and Tyler Lockett (11.2).

Downfield play-making

Perriman’s strong yards-per-target mark stems from his propensity for making plays deep down the field. Since 2018, he has accumulated 783 air yards over 52 receptions, leading all qualified wide receivers over that span with an average of 15.1 air yards per reception.

Soft hands

Over the past two seasons, Perriman has yanked in 52 receptions while being credited with only one drop. That gives him a drop rate of 1.9%, well below the 2019 positional average of 7.5%.

Two negative stats to improve

Ice cold over the first three months of 2019

Prior to his breakout in December, Perriman was struggling over nine appearances through Week 12. Of course, he had no chance of putting up huge volume numbers as he was stuffed behind Mike Evans and Chris Godwin on the depth chart, but the problem was that he did not produce at an efficient level on a per-play or per-target basis.

Breshad Perriman

Through Week 12, Perriman was tied for 87th among wide receivers in targets (32) but placed 109th in receptions (11) and 116th in receiving yards (139).

This level of inefficiency hardly impacted Tampa Bay considering how small Perriman’s role was over that span, but in the larger role that he will be playing with the Jets, such long stretches of poor efficiency could crush the offense.

Severe lack of career production prior to last December

Perriman’s five-game hot stretch to close 2019 was the first intriguing stretch of his entire career since being drafted in 2015. Prior to that rampage, Perriman’s absolute best five-game stretch came from Weeks 13-17 of 2018 with the Browns, in which he averaged 2.0 receptions for 51.8 yards.

While Perriman posted 100-plus yards in each of his final three games this past season, those were the first three 100-yard games of his career. He had failed to record more than 87 yards in any of his first 48 career games and also failed to record more than four receptions in any of his first 46 games.

Even when he has been given ample playing time, Perriman was regularly underperforming. Before his December run, Perriman had logged 13 career games in which he played at least 60% of his team’s offensive snaps. He averaged 12.1 yards in those games on a grotesque 3.1 yards per target.

The ceiling with Perriman is tantalizing, but his floor is equally terrifying.

Three plays that showcase Perriman’s ceiling

The downfield game is Perriman’s bread-and-butter. He has great long speed, is adept at contorting mid-air to make acrobatic catches, can adjust back to the ball, and has sticky hands that allow him to hang on through contact.

Perriman’s ability to haul in contested catches makes him an intriguing partner for Sam Darnold. The franchise quarterback is a noted gunslinger who feels comfortable with taking aggressive chances downfield, but he has not had an above-the-rim weapon who could consistently deliver in those situations (save for flashes from Chris Herndon in 2018). Perhaps Perriman is the man who unlocks the full potential of Darnold’s fearlessness.

On this go route, Perriman creates some separation, but Jameis Winston underthrows him. Perriman slams on the brakes and shoves the cornerback upfield with his inside arm, then brings his outside arm over the corner’s shoulder to free himself up. It’s a great example of subtle, legal physicality to create space. He makes the grab – snatching it with hands-only and without using his body – for a 37-yard gain.

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