Ravens ‘Breakout’ Candidate Studies All-Pro WR

Rashod Bateman

Getty Rashod Bateman has revealed which All-Pro WR he studies.

Rashod Bateman isn’t lacking for confidence ahead of what is a pivotal second season in the NFL. Bateman will be expected to take charge of the wide receiver room for the Baltimore Ravens, following the draft-day trade that sent Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown to the Arizona Cardinals for a first-round pick.

It’s a challenge Bateman says he’s ready for, and one his study habits can help him overcome. Specifically, Bateman has revealed how he takes a long look at the work of one All-Pro player at his position who has been dominating NFL cornerbacks for seven seasons.

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Bateman Inspired by 2-Time All-Pro

Bateman didn’t exactly deliver what was expected in his rookie season. The 27th pick in the 2021 NFL draft started just four games, made 46 catches for 515 yards and scored a solitary touchdown.

A lingering groin injury prevented Bateman from proving his worth, something that has to change now he’s the top wideout on the roster. His chances of taking a step up will improve the more Bateman studies Davante Adams.

Bateman told teammate Marlon Humphrey on the Studio 44 podcast: “the one guy that I study is Davante Adams. Ain’t go no choice.”

Both Humphrey and Bateman admitted “it is very hard to put hands on” Adams, who was twice named an All-Pro with the Green Bay Packers. Adams also went to five Pro Bowls before he was traded to the Las Vegas Raiders this offseason.

Bateman admitted he admires the effective simplicity in Adams’ game: “When you watch his tape, it’s like he does the most simple stuff to get open, but then it’s like, he does it so well.”

This isn’t the first time Bateman’s appreciation of Adams has been a matter of record. Shortly after Bateman was drafted, Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun reported the rookie based his game on what Adams does:

Adams is a good example to follow for a young pass-catcher who needs to take a significant step up this season. There’s no doubting Bateman’s core talents, including the ability to stretch the field, based on how he averaged 11.2 yards per grab in 2021.

The Ravens need to see more plays like this one against the Cleveland Browns from Week 14:

Similar highlights could be a more regular occurrence if Bateman gets a bigger workload following Brown’s departure. The trade is a prime reason one NFL insider thinks Bateman is a breakout candidate this season.

Bateman Touted for ‘Breakout’ 2nd Season

Bateman has been named as one of six players set for a breakout campaign by CBS Sports’ Jason La Canfora. Interestingly, La Canfora thinks Bateman will be an upgrade over Brown: “He is in position to be the lead dog of this receiving group by a large margin. Trading Hollywood Brown will prove to be addition by subtraction in part because of Bateman’s superior frame, hands, strength and catch radius.”

La Canfora envisages “double-digit TD totals” for Bateman in his second season. A scoring haul like that would more than offset dealing Brown, who led all Ravens’ wideouts last season with 91 catches, 1,008 yards and six touchdowns.

Brown was also Jackson’s go-to deep threat, a skill he showcased against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 7:

Those are the kinds of numbers and catches Bateman will be expected to emulate. He’s confident he can, telling Humphrey: “It’s my time. I feel like Baltimore drafted me for a reason. They drafted me to be in his position.”

There’s nothing wrong with Bateman’s bravado, but he needs to back up the big talk. Especially since the Ravens still look lightweight at receiver.

Beyond Bateman, there’s only an unconvincing quartet made up of Devin Duvernay, James Proche II and Tylan Wallace. There are still options in free agency, including another of Bateman’s idols, Odell Beckham Jr.

Yet, so far at least, the Ravens have been content not to test the veteran market. It’s a risky strategy since franchise quarterback Lamar Jackson is set to play on his fifth-year option.

Jackson needs better weapons around him if he’s going to play to the level good enough to justify a lucrative new contract. Bateman being more like Adams in Year 2 would certainly help.

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