Rashod Bateman

Ravens Activate Bateman, Phillips From IR

Ravens wide receiver Rashod Bateman will make his NFL debut this weekend in a heavily anticipated matchup between two exciting young QBs in Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson and the Chargers’ Justin Herbert. Head coach John Harbaugh apprised reporters of the news today (Twitter link via Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic).

Baltimore activated both Bateman and guard Tyre Phillips from IR Saturday. Phillips has been out since Week 1 due to a knee injury that required cart transportation. He began the season as the Ravens’ starting left guard. This move comes shortly after the Ravens placed rookie fill-in Ben Cleveland, who has split time at left guard with Ben Powers, on IR. Baltimore promoted Le’Veon Bell and tackle Andre Smith from its practice squad as well.

The Ravens have managed a 4-1 record despite a rash of injured stars and key contributors, including their top two RBs — J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards — CB Marcus Peters, LT Ronnie Stanley, and many others besides. Bateman, the 27th-overall pick of this year’s draft, joined the club’s MASH unit after suffering a significant groin pull in training camp that ultimately required surgery. Baltimore put its rookie wideout on IR and designated him for return at the end of September.

The Ravens’ ground game, which was the club’s calling card over the past several years, has been subdued in 2021 thanks in large part to the aforementioned injuries to Dobbins and Edwards (and thanks to opposing defenses gearing up to stop the run). But Jackson has elevated his passing abilities and his receivers have played well, allowing Baltimore to sustain a productive aerial attack, which Bateman should further bolster.

Unfortunately (but not unsurprisingly), Bateman’s debut coincides with the loss of fellow wideout Sammy Watkins. Watkins signed a one-year contract with the Ravens this spring, and he had developed a strong rapport with Jackson, catching 18 passes for 292 yards (good for a 16.2 YPR mark, which would be the second-highest figure of his career). Watkins suffered a hamstring injury in Monday’s dramatic win over the Colts, and he has been ruled out for the Chargers game this week (Twitter link via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com). There is no definitive timetable for Watkins at this point, but it does not sound like the team will put him on IR just yet.

Meanwhile, Baltimore continues to be without TE Nick Boyle. Boyle is an effective ancillary receiving target in his own right, but his primary contribution has been as a blocker. He is regarded as one of the best blocking tight ends in the league, and his return could help the running game get back on track. As with Watkins, there is no definitive return date for Boyle, but Harbaugh said the Delaware product will come off of IR soon (Twitter link via Hensley).

Boyle has been recovering from a severe knee injury he suffered last November, which ended his 2020 season prematurely.

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Ravens Designate Rashod Bateman, Miles Boykin For Return

The Ravens have designated wide receivers Rashod Bateman and Miles Boykin for return from injured reserve. Both players will now be able to practice with the team as they prepare to retake the field. 

Bateman underwent groin surgery in August and was forced to begin the year on IR. One of several stellar WRs in the 2020 class, Bateman registered 1,219 yards and eleven touchdowns in 2019, his last full season at Minnesota. The Ravens selected him with the No. 27 in this past year’s draft.

Up until this year, Boykin hadn’t missed a game as a pro. The 2019 third-rounder started 24 games over his first two seasons, hauling in 32 receptions for 464 yards and seven touchdowns.

With Bateman and Boykin on IR, the Ravens have been working with five wideouts: Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins, James Proche, Devin Duvernay, and Tylan Wallace. Now they’re close to getting some reinforcements as they prepare for the Broncos in Week 4.

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Ravens Place WRs Rashod Bateman, Miles Boykin On IR

The Ravens are placing a pair of wide receivers on injured reserve. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that the team placed first-round pick Rashod Bateman and teammate Miles Boykin on IR. The team re-signed tight end Eric Tomlinson to take one of those open roster spots.

Bateman underwent groin surgery last month, and he was expected to be sidelined until some point in September. Now, he’ll sit out at least the Ravens’ first three games, but there’s a chance he could be back at some point in October. Bateman, one of several stellar WRs in the 2020 class, registered 1,219 yards and eleven touchdowns in 2019, his last full season at Minnesota. The Ravens selected him with the No. 27 in this past year’s draft.

Boykin hasn’t missed a game since being selected in the third round of the 2019 draft. The wideout has also started 24 games over his first two seasons, hauling in 32 receptions for 464 yards and seven touchdowns.

With Bateman and Boykin landing on IR, the Ravens are left with five wideouts on their roster: Marquise Brown, Sammy Watkins, James Proche, Devin Duvernay, and Tylan Wallace.

Tomlinson, 29, had a three-year stint with the Jets before bouncing between the Giants (twice), Patriots, Raiders, and Ravens. He got into six games with Baltimore in 2020, earning 123 offensive snaps.

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Surgery For Ravens’ Rashod Bateman

Rashod Bateman will undergo groin surgery this week, according to Ravens head coach John Harbaugh (Twitter link via Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com). The exact timeline isn’t clear, but the wide receiver will be “back sometime in September.” That likely means that the Ravens will be without Bateman for the season opener, at minimum. 

Bateman suffered a significant pull in practice, a tough blow for a Ravens offense that lacks depth at wide receiver. The Ravens believe that Bateman — the No. 27 overall pick in this year’s draft — will make a difference in Lamar Jackson‘s passing game. But, first, they have to get him healthy.

The Ravens did add veteran Sammy Watkins to the fold this year and they still have Marquise Brown to lead the way. However, Brown is dinged up with a hamstring injury of his own — ditto for Miles Boykin.

Bateman, one of several stellar WRs in the 2020 class, registered 1,219 yards and eleven touchdowns in 2019, his last full season at Minnesota.

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Latest On Ravens’ Rashod Bateman

We heard yesterday that Ravens rookie receiver Rashod Bateman was going to miss some time, and now we have a bit more info. For starters, the thought is that Bateman has a “significant groin pull,” Jason La Canfora of CBS Sports tweets.

Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh then announced Wednesday that his young wideout would miss “a number of weeks,” although he did declare “it’s not going to be months.” When asked if Bateman would be ready for Week 1 Harbaugh said he was “hopeful,” but didn’t sound overly optimistic.

At this point it seems like Bateman missing some regular season time is a distinct possibility. It’s a tough blow for a Ravens offense that has caught a lot of flak for not equipping Lamar Jackson with the best weapons in the passing game. The drafting of Bateman 27th overall back in April was supposed to go a long way toward solving those issues.

Bateman had missed a few practices earlier in camp with a groin issue, so it sounds like this latest injury was an aggravation of that. The Ravens also added Sammy Watkins this offseason, and of course still have Marquise Brown (also dinged up with a hamstring injury) on the depth chart.

We’ll keep you posted when we hear more about Bateman’s status. The Minnesota product had 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019, his last full college season.

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Ravens’ Rashod Bateman To Miss Time

Rashod Bateman missed a few Ravens practices last week and is set to miss several more after going down during Tuesday’s workout. The first-round wide receiver is set to be out a while as a result, Mike Garafolo of NFL.com tweets.

A soft-tissue leg injury caused Bateman to limp off a Ravens practice field today, according to NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport (video link). While Bateman is not expected to miss “a crazy length of time,” per Garafolo, the Ravens should prepare to be without their rookie wideout for a stretch.

The Minnesota product previously missed time due to a groin issue, Jeff Zrebiec of The Athletic notes. Altogether, this will force Bateman to enter his rookie season after missing extensive reps. The second first-round receiver the Ravens have taken in the past three years, Bateman is expected to play a major role as a rookie.

Key Ravens passing-game principals have run into a few issues during camp. In addition to Lamar Jackson‘s second COVID-19-induced absence, Marquise Brown and Miles Boykin have been down for more than a week due to hamstring maladies. Even though John Harbaugh indicated Brown’s absence is precautionary, Zrebiec adds the third-year deep threat has needed more recovery time than the team anticipated.

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Poll: Which Rookie Wide Receiver Will Finish With Most Receiving Yards?

This past week we asked you which rookie running back would finish with the most yards in 2021, and now we’re turning our attention to the wide receivers. This year’s wideout class was a great one, with three going in the top ten picks.

Two more then went later in the first round, and then five were off the board in the second. The crop included reigning Heisman Trophy winner DeVonta Smith, and LSU star Ja’Marr Chase who was reunited in Cincinnati with college teammate Joe Burrow.

Chase became the first receiver off the board when the Bengals nabbed him with the fifth overall pick. He should already have great chemistry with Burrow, so he’s got that working in his favor. Tee Higgins and Tyler Boyd are still there, but the team moving on from A.J. Green this offseason means Chase should see plenty of opportunity right away. Will his rapport with Burrow and a potentially improved Cincy O-line be enough for him to seize the rookie receiving title?

The following pick, the Dolphins took Jaylen Waddle from Alabama at number six. Waddle is also reconnecting with an old college quarterback as he’ll re-team with Tua Tagovailoa in Miami. His blazing fast speed gives him plenty of upside, although working against him is the fact that he missed a good chunk of the 2020 season due to injury. Will Fuller will have to sit out the first game of the 2021 season with a suspension, but DeVante Parker and Mike Gesicki will also be competing for targets.

Smith *also* is getting paired back up with a familiar face under center. The Heisman winner played with Eagles second-year quarterback Jalen Hurts at Alabama. Despite winning the award for best college football player in the country, Smith was the third wideout taken. Will he use that as added motivation and come out with a chip on his shoulder? He certainly shouldn’t struggle for playing time with Philly’s receiving depth chart being thin as ever. Jalen Reagor, Travis Fulgham, and Greg Ward Jr. are all he has to compete with.

The other two first-rounders were Kadarius Toney from Florida to the Giants at 20 and Rashod Bateman from Minnesota to the Ravens at 27. Toney surprised New York by skipping OTAs and apparently might begin the year in a gadget role as he’s buried behind Sterling Shepard, Kenny Golladay, Darius Slayton, and Evan Engram in the pecking order, so he’s got his work cut out for him. Bateman has a path to a breakout with Baltimore in desperate need of receiving help, but the Ravens’ passing game is going to be a wild card.

Elijah Moore was the next big name, with the Ole Miss product going to the Jets at 34. He’s also got upside, but has a few guys ahead of him and will have a rookie quarterback throwing to him. Rondale Moore (Purdue) to the Cardinals at 49, D’Wayne Eskridge (Western Michigan) to the Seahawks at 56, Tutu Atwell (Louisville) to the Rams at 57, and Terrace Marshall Jr. (LSU) to the Panthers at 59 round out the rest of the round two receivers.

So, what do you think? Which receiver will rack up the most yards in 2021? Who are the later-round candidates or UDFAs who can join these players as early contributors? Vote in PFR’s latest poll and weigh in with your thoughts in the comments section.

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Ravens Expected Packers To Draft Rashod Bateman At No. 29

The Packers last drafted a first-round wide receiver in 2002 — Javon Walker — but they may have been prepared to pull the trigger this year. The Ravens, at least, viewed that as likely to take place.

Earlier this month, select execs around the league viewed Green Bay as Rashod Bateman‘s landing spot — if he remained on the board at No. 29. The Ravens were among the teams that believed this would transpire. Ravens director of player personnel Joe Hortiz said as much recently, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com notes. The Ravens drafted Bateman 27th overall.

Certainly, we knew [the Packers] liked him and a lot of teams like Rashod,” Hortiz said, via Hensley. “We don’t know for certain, but you do try to pay attention to, ‘OK, the GMs were at this pro day’ — especially this year because the GMs weren’t able to get out and see players. Brian [Gutekunst] is going to look at players that he was interested in. We try to give Eric [DeCosta] all the information that we can get at a pro day (and) at a school visit.”

Gutekunst stood next to Hortiz at Bateman’s pro day in Minneapolis; the longtime friends commuted from the airport to the Golden Gophers’ facility, per Hensley. The Packers ended up taking Georgia cornerback Eric Stokes at No. 29.

Part of the Aaron Rodgers-Packers impasse involves the team’s approach to the receiver position. The Packers were candidates to take a first-round wideout last year but surprised most by trading up for Jordan Love. The team had multiple second-round receivers on its radar in 2020 but could not maneuver to land them. They exited the ’20 draft without taking a receiver. This year, Green Bay selected Clemson’s Amari Rodgers in Round 3.

The Ravens have now taken first-round wide receivers twice in the past three years. Bateman will join Marquise Brown in Baltimore. The Bateman move came after the Ravens added Sammy Watkins in free agency. The team aggressively pursued veteran wideouts this offseason, but J.J. Smith-Schuster and T.Y. Hilton accepted less money to stay with their respective teams. Bateman broke out with a 60-catch, 1,219-yard sophomore season in 2019 and will be expected to play a major role for the run-heavy Ravens next season.

When I came out of the pro day, I called Eric and John [Harbaugh]: ‘You got to watch his pro day,'” Hortiz said. “You can definitely feel his speed. With him, you really felt it — his ability to get in and out [of cuts] and show that twitch and strength that can transition into the burst and explosion. Certainly the pro day helped.”

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NFC North Notes: Bears, Sewell, Bateman

In a comprehensive piece, Adam Jahns of The Athletic details how Bears GM Ryan Pace, head coach Matt Nagy, and the rest of Chicago’s brain trust approached their quarterback situation this offseason. These types of behind-the-scenes stories are always worth a read, especially for fans of the team in question, and particularly notable here is that the club identified the No. 8 through No. 12 overall selections as the “sweet spot” to target a collegiate QB. Pace’s predraft research indicated that trying to acquire the Falcons’ No. 4 overall pick would require too much draft capital, but he didn’t want to start calling teams holding picks eight through 12 too early for fear of tipping his hand.

So he waited until the day of the draft to start making those calls, and while the early run on QBs pushed down quality players at other positions, Pace identified Ohio State QB Justin Fields as his top target. 11 Bears staffers filed reports on Fields, and all of them had very similar grades on him. Pace and Giants GM Dave Gettleman had worked out the parameters of a trade earlier in the day, and when Fields was still on the board after the Eagles leapfrogged the Giants — Pace feared Philadelphia might have been targeting Fields — Chicago and New York were able to swing a trade that brought the former Buckeye to the Windy City. Now, Pace and Nagy will hope that the bold maneuver will help them keep their jobs.

Here’s more from the NFC North:

  • Even though the Bears just signed Andy Dalton this offseason, they extended him a courtesy that the Packers did not extend to Aaron Rodgers when they drafted Jordan Love last year: they told Dalton that they might pick a QB. “I talked to [Dalton] earlier in the day on [the day of the draft], and we were just catching up,” Nagy said (via Albert Breer of SI.com). “And at the same time I said, ‘Hey, listen man, I have no idea which way this thing may go, you never know, but all positions are open and we can do a lot of different things, including at quarterback. So I just want you to understand that and be aware for that.'” Of course, the news couldn’t have come as a surprise to Dalton, who was signed to a one-year contract and who presumably has no delusions that the Bears acquired him as their quarterback of the future, but it’s the type of gesture that might have helped ease the strain on the Packers’ relationship with Rodgers.
  • The Lions‘ first-round pick, No. 7 overall selection Penei Sewell, has tested positive for COVID-19, as Sewell himself tweeted several days ago. He will therefore miss this weekend’s rookie minicamp, but at this point it sounds like he is either asymptomatic or else has mild symptoms, so there shouldn’t be any cause for concern.
  • The Packers selected Georgia CB Eric Stokes with the No. 29 overall pick of the draft, but if Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman had still been around, execs around the league believe he would have been the choice, as Jeremy Fowler of ESPN.com writes (subscription required). Of course, taking a first-round receiver this year after selecting Love in the first round in 2020 might not have been enough to placate Rodgers. The Ravens took Bateman off the board with the No. 27 overall selection.
  • The Vikings have been busy over the past couple of days, trading cornerback Mike Hughes to the Chiefs and signing first-round pick Christian Darrisaw.

Ravens Sign First-Rounder Rashod Bateman

The first of the Ravens’ two 2021 first-round picks, Rashod Bateman is now under contract. The former Minnesota wide receiver signed his rookie deal Wednesday.

The No. 27 overall pick, Bateman signed a $12.6MM contract — with a $6.5MM signing bonus — and is now under contract through 2024. He could be kept through 2025 on this deal via the now-fully guaranteed fifth-year option. Baltimore will not have to make that decision until May 2024. In the meantime, Bateman will be a welcome addition to a team that has changed up its receiving corps this offseason.

It has not been especially easy for the Ravens to bolster their receiving crew. They were in on Kenny Golladay, and both JuJu Smith-Schuster and T.Y. Hilton passed on better offers from Baltimore in order to re-sign with the teams that drafted them. Although the Ravens did sign Sammy Watkins, their run-heavy offense has predictably been an issue for free agent wideouts. As such, the Ravens have spent first-round picks on receivers in two of the past three years.

At 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, Bateman will bring a different skill set compared to Marquise Brown. In 2019, however, Bateman did post a Brown-like yards-per-catch figure (20.9). After that 1,219-yard, 11-touchdown season, the big-bodied wideout played a limited role in the COVID-19-shortened 2020 season. Bateman opted out, opted back in, then left the Golden Gophers during the season to prepare for the draft. He still wound up a first-round pick and will attempt to give Lamar Jackson a steady target on the outside.

Bateman is the first of Baltimore’s draftees to sign and the second first-round pick to ink his rookie contract. The Colts signed Kwity Paye last week.

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