There’s no disputing new Detroit Lions receiver Breshad Perriman is fast. You could even make a case he’s the NFL’s fastest receiver. Based on tracking data from the NFL, nobody averaged a higher top speed than him on go routes last season.
In 2015, Lions general manager Brad Holmes remembers making his way to Central Florida for Perriman’s pro day. The receiver hadn’t run at the combine and scouts and general managers were eager to quantify his speed ahead of that year’s draft.
The performance is now legend, with dozens of headlines unearthed with a quick Google search. That’s because Perriman did the unthinkable, breaking the 4.2-second barrier.
But there was a catch, Holmes shared Monday during a video conference with reporters.
“We all were at the pro day, basically all to see him,” Holmes said. “It was like pretty much the whole league, all of these head coaches and GM’s and everybody. Perriman runs and for some reason he ran last, after everybody. He gets down and you’re supposed to usually hold (your stance) for like a three count, but he goes as soon as he puts his hand on the line, he just jumps and goes.
“Usually everybody stops the guy,” Holmes said. “Everybody is like, ‘Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa,’ but nobody stopped him because I guess everybody was kind of like nervous and was like, ‘Oh, man, this is the guy we kind of came down to see.’ And so, he’s hauling (butt) down there and you can feel the speed …and everybody had like 4.1-something because he quick started. Everybody had like 4.17, 4.15, and we were like, ‘Holy smokes.’”
When Perriman heard the times he was reluctant to run again, but Holmes said the prospect was eventually coaxed into running properly. As you would expect, there was an adjustment with the time, but perceptions weren’t changed.
“Eventually we kind of talked him into running another one, and he did, and got down and sure enough, you know, it was a legitimate 4.25,” Holmes said. “Probably the fastest guy his size that I’ve seen running a 40.”
That was good enough to make Perriman a first-round pick that year, and even though his career has been hampered by injuries, his speed has remained impactful. Among active players with at least 125 receptions, his 16.5 yards per catch ranks third in the NFL.