NFL Draft Football

Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman poses for photos after being selected by the Baltimore Ravens as the 26th pick in the first round of the 2015 NFL Draft, Thursday, April 30, 2015, in Chicago. (AP Photo/Charles Rex Arbogast)

With the 26th overall pick in the 2015 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens drafted speedy wide receiver Breshad Perriman out of the University of Central Florida.

Perriman is just this third receiver in the 20-year history of the team to be taken by the Ravens in the first round of the draft.

Perriman’s abilities became a pressing need for the Ravens after the team lost speedster Torrey Smith to free agency this offseason. Perriman had the fastest 40-yard dash time recorded out of all receiver prospects this spring—a 4.24 second mark timed at UCF’s pro day. That raw speed will fill the void left by Smith, who was Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco’s favorite deep threat over the last four years. Unlike Smith, who stands just 6-feet, 200 pounds, Perriman has a much larger frame at 6-feet, 3-inches, 215-plus pounds.

Some scouts project Perriman to be the next Julio Jones, a two-time Pro Bowl star receiver for the Atlanta Falcons. Jones has nearly identical measurements and skills as Perriman; Jones was the sixth overall pick in the 2011 draft, which explains why the Ravens brass decided to use their first-round pick on a kid with similar make up.

Before Perriman, the Ravens had only twice used a first round pick on a receiver. They took former University of Oklahoma receiver Mark Clayton in the first round in 2005 and drafted former University of Florida receiver Travis Taylor in the first round in 2000; neither lived up to their first round potential. Torrey Smith was perhaps the most successful receiver drafted by the Ravens, producing 213 catches for 3591 yards and 30 touchdowns during his tenure in Baltimore. However, he was taken with a second-round pick in 2011.

The mere fact that Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome even took a chance on Perriman in the first round suggests he believes the young prospect will develop into a star contributor on the team.

“He brings an element to our offense that plays into Joe strength in that he can be a vertical threat,” Newsome told the media following the pick. “But he also has the ability to run the full route tree.”

Perriman’s family roots also played a factor in his selection by the Ravens. The young receiver is the son of former NFL receiver Brett Perriman, who played in the league for 10 seasons.

“The thing that I like about Perriman is he’s grown up around the game of football,” Newsome said, according to the Associated Press. “The game is not going to be too big for him.”