The Baltimore Ravens have a situation once again at wide receiver, and the team hasn’t been able to solve it in a big way the last few years.
That could lead the Ravens to have to put in work during the 2021 NFL Draft in order to find a player that could help them in filling the void. If the Ravens look to do that, what player would be the best?
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Recently, Pro Football Focus took a closer look at naming some perfect fits for teams in the draft. The Ravens made the cut on the list for a wideout, and writer Zach Tantillo believes that he could be the type of immediate difference maker that the Ravens and their struggling offense need.
“Comped to Los Angeles Chargers receiver Keenan Allen in PFF’s NFL Draft Guide, Bateman is one of the most complete receivers in this deep draft class. He has an NFL-ready build at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds that can hang with the physicality of NFL corners. Bateman hauled in 63.2% of his contested targets as a sophomore, seventh among Power 5 wide receivers.
Despite his success, contested catches are not his bread and butter. His specialty is his ability to create separation thanks to a plethora of release packages at the line of scrimmage. Bateman was tied for second with five touchdown receptions coming with a step or more of separation in his last full season.
The Ravens rank 31st league-wide in yards after the catch from receivers since 2019, but that also happens to be one of Bateman’s strengths. The Minnesota wide receiver has forced 36 missed tackles and recorded 905 yards after the catch in his career, eighth and 16th among Power 5 receivers, respectively.
The rumored knock on Bateman’s game is his lack of top-tier speed, but that did not stop him from creating big plays down the field. Since 2019, no other receiver has more catches on 10-plus-yard throws than Bateman (46). If that sustained success down the field did not shut down those claims, then his reported 4.39 40-yard-dash time might do the trick.
Bateman’s ability to offer a complete package at the receiver position is what should be most alluring to Baltimore. His ability to play outside and in the slot should add a much-needed facet to a Ravens passing game that has been somewhat one-dimensional since Jackson took over under center. Since 2019, Marquise Brown and Mark Andrews have more targets (345) combined than the next seven most-targeted Ravens pass-catchers combined (336).
Bateman is mostly mocking in the Pick 22-23 range, so there’s always a chance that he falls to the Ravens at 27, as he does in Mike Renner’s most recent NFL mock draft. But if the Ravens want Jackson to take a Josh Allen-like leap, they might need to do what it takes and go and get their guy.”
Last season, Baltimore made a lot of moves in the NFL Draft for wideouts, but they were further down the board and the players took time to adjust. This time around, the Ravens might have to find a way to get more players into the mix earlier like Bateman.
Bateman’s Stats and Highlights
It’s true what is being said about Bateman and he is a player who could be a major difference maker for a team that takes a chance on him in the draft. While at Minnesota, Bateman put up solid numbers, with 2,395 yards and 19 touchdowns. As a result of this work in college, Bateman is seen as a potential stud in the making for teams in the draft, and could be a good alternative further down the board in the first round where the Ravens are slated to pick this season.
Bateman has proven himself the biggest weapon in Minnesota the last few seasons with plays like this:
Getting a player like this in the mix for the Ravens would be very huge news for Lamar Jackson and for the team’s offense.
Ravens Must Expand Focus for Wide Receiver
So what’s next for the Ravens? They still need a wideout to help the offense, and that’s true even after the team has beefed up their offensive line as well as the tight end spot. Now, the goal is to find a wideout to come in and expand the offense for Lamar Jackson and company. The team hasn’t been able to get elite play from anyone at the spot the last few years, so the pressure is on to add a weapon this offseason.
Right now, the bigger names are gone on the market, so the Ravens have to find a way to get someone to come in and occupy the bottom of their group. Some names are still out there, but it will be interesting to see if the Ravens look more toward the draft for a player such as this.
Bateman could be just the fit.
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