Browns General Manager Ray Farmer and other team executives had dinner Sunday night with University of Central Florida wide receiver Breshad Perriman in Orlando, a league source confirmed for the Beacon Journal.
The source spoke on condition of anonymity because the Browns have yet to comment on the meeting. ProFootballTalk.com first reported the news Monday morning.
The Browns have two picks (Nos. 12 and 19 overall) in the first round of the NFL Draft, which will begin at 8 p.m. Thursday. They could use help in their receiving corps, and NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said last week during a conference call he would be surprised if Perriman and three other receivers — Alabama’s Amari Cooper, West Virginia’s Kevin White and Louisville’s DeVante Parker — don’t become top-20 selections.
The timing of the Browns’ dinner with Perriman is especially interesting when one considers what Buffalo Bills wide receiver Sammy Watkins told the Beacon Journal in June at the NFL Rookie Symposium.
Watkins said Farmer visited him in Clemson, S.C., just a few days before the 2014 draft. Coach Mike Pettine has said the Browns would have picked Watkins fourth overall last year had they not traded down to No. 9 in a swap with the Bills (Cleveland later moved up one spot and took cornerback Justin Gilbert at No. 8).
“We just sat down at the hotel, we talked, [Farmer] and this security guy,” Watkins said. “He met me in Clemson, the last day I was in Clemson [getting ready] to go to New York [for the draft]. We just chatted up about life, about who am I, what type of guy I am. And after that, we didn’t really have any contact.”
Of course, none of this guarantees the Browns will pick Perriman, but it does mean he is worth watching.
The 6-foot-2, 212-pound Perriman had his best season at UCF when he caught 50 passes for 1,044 yards (20.9 average) and nine touchdowns last year as a junior. His pedigree (father Brett played receiver in the NFL for 10 seasons) and speed (4.25 seconds in the 40-yard dash last month at pro day) certainly attract teams, but Mayock said Perriman dropped seven or eight passes last season.
“My perspective — and I watched every target on tape — is that he’s got great hands,” Mayock said. “[He] just [had] some dumb concentration drops.”
Here is a breakdown of Perriman, 21, from NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler’s draft guide.
“Despite losing 2014 first round pick Blake Bortles at quarterback, Perriman had his most productive season as a junior and proved to be a big-play threat at every level of the field as the starting ‘X’ receiver,” Brugler wrote. “He has impressive triangle numbers (size/speed/strength) for the position and uses his strengths well, although he clearly lacks polish and needs to eliminate the drops.
“Perriman uses his physical size and nature before the catch to box out and after the catch, finishing with the ball in his hands. With his terrific physical traits and lifelong coaching by an NFL receiver raising him, Perriman has an excellent foundation for his age and should get even better with improved technique, pushing his NFL ceiling higher than most in the 2015 class — late first- or early second-round grade, but could sneak into the top 20 picks due to his NFL upside.”
ProFootballTalk.com also reported Perriman visited the New York Jets, Tennessee Titans and Miami Dolphins last week and has received interest from the Carolina Panthers, Chicago Bears, Detroit Lions, Pittsburgh Steelers, Philadelphia Eagles and Baltimore Ravens.
More draft talk
• Farmer and other members of the Browns also had lunch Monday with Georgia wide receiver Chris Conley, ProFootballTalk.com reported. NFLDraftScout.com projects Conley as a third-round pick.
• The Browns have communicated with Washington about potentially trading up for the No. 5 overall pick, NFL Network reported Monday. The Browns have reached out to other teams with a top-10 selection, according to the report. Last week, Farmer said serious trade discussions usually “happen literally much closer to the draft and a lot of times when you’re on the clock.”
Nate Ulrich can be reached at email@example.com. Read the Browns blog at www.ohio.com/browns. Follow him on Twitter at www.twitter.com/NateUlrichABJ and on Facebook www.facebook.com/abj.sports.