Philadelphia Eagles: Breshad Perriman is Doug Pederson’s dream receiver

(Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images)
(Photo by Will Vragovic/Getty Images) /

With Alshon Jeffery’s size and DeSean Jackson’s speed, Breshad Perriman may be Doug Pederson’s dream Philadelphia Eagles free agent target.

Free agency is less than a week old and the Philadelphia Eagles‘ available cap space is all but spent.

Between trading for Darius Slay, signing Javon Hargrave, Jatavis Brown, and Will Parks, and re-signing Rodney McLeod, Jalen Mills, Hassan Ridgeway, and Nate Sudfeld, the Eagles are effectively out of the running for the few big-name players left on the open market – barring a surprise cap-clearing trade of course.

But that doesn’t mean the Eagles can’t still improve on the margins with the right player at the right price. In actuality, there’s a player the team has been linked to that could instantly improve the Eagles offense with the draft right around the corner: Breshad Perriman.

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Measuring in at a prototypical 6-foot-2, 215 pounds, Perriman burst onto the national stage after an under-the-radar career at UCF by running a lightning-fast 4.25 40 at the Knights’ 2015 Pro Day. Despite having only amassed 2,243 yards on 115 catches for an admittedly impressive 19.5 YPC, Perriman left college after three seasons and was selected 26th overall by the Baltimore Ravens.

That pairing lasted all of two seasons, as Perriman was released after a beyond disappointing second season where he only caught 10 balls on 35 targets for 77 yards.

As crazy as it sounds, Perriman caught more touchdowns in 2015 than first downs in 2016.

From there, Perriman bounced around the league in 2018 before signing a one-year, $4 million deal with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers to compete for the third receiver position in Bruce Arians‘ offense.

That singular decision may have single-handedly saved Perriman’s career.

Now no, Perriman didn’t make anyone in Tampa Bay forget about the dynamic duo of Mike Evans or Chris Godwin, but in his fourth professional season, the Lithonia, Georgia native caught 36 balls for 645 yards and six touchdowns – all of which were career highs. Despite only being on the field for 57 percent of the Bucs’ offensive snaps, Perriman put in work as Jameis Winston‘s dedicated deep threat helped to open up the middle of the field for players like O.J. Howard, Cameron Brate, and Ronald Jones.

In Philly, that’s the role Perriman would likely be asked to fill, an outside field spacer.

While Perriman did take steps forward as a receiver in Tampa Bay last season, he’s far from a complete receiver at this point in his career. With tight hips, and a deep threat’s mentality, Perriman is an average route runner at best, and likely can’t be relied on to run effective timing-based routes like the comeback and the curl. Perriman also lacks the elusivity to shake a cornerback in press coverage, or weave effortlessly through a crowded middle of the field, limiting his effectiveness when deployed out of the slot.

What Perriman can do, however, is win 50-50 balls against virtually any cornerback in the NFL right now, and generate instant offense when he wins in single-coverage.

In a lot of ways, Perriman is like a poor man’s D.K. Metcalf, despite being four years his senior. Like Perriman, Metcalf’s NFL potential was questioned due to a perceived lack of change of direction ability, but the 2019 second-round pick quickly silenced those doubters on the way to becoming the Seattle Seahawks‘ wide receiver number one.

Perriman is the rare player who can slot in as the Birds’ top reserve at both outside receiving spots, as he’s big enough to spell Alshon Jeffery as a big-bodied possession receiver and fast enough to replace DeSean Jackson as a vertical deep threat. Regardless of who the Eagles draft in the 2020 NFL Draft and how JJ Arcega-Whiteside develops in his second professional season, Perriman could have a role in Doug Pederson‘s offense moving forward.

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If Perriman is willing to accept another one-year, prove-it deal, or Howie Roseman can lock him into one of his patented magic money deals with a slew of creative ways to spread money out over multiple seasons, there is very little downside in bringing the former first-round pick into the fray in 2020. While his role likely wouldn’t come as a starter, especially if the team’s top-two receivers remain with the team come September, he’s an ideal reserve option who could slide in next season as a starter at either outside spot.