Ravens’ Wide Receiver Responds to Hollywood Brown Trade: ‘It’s My Time’

Ravens Rashod Bateman

Getty Baltimore Ravens wide receiver Rashod Bateman runs after a catch against the Minnesota Vikings.

Baltimore Ravens second-year wideout Rashod Bateman is ready to step up as Lamar Jackson‘s top receiver in 2022 after the draft-night trade that sent Hollywood Brown to the Arizona Cardinals.

“All respect due to him…but it’s my time,” said Bateman on a recent appearance on “Studio 44,” a Ravens-produced podcast hosted by All-Pro cornerback Marlon Humphrey.

“I feel like Baltimore drafted me for a reason,” Bateman continued, “They drafted me to be in this position.”

Indeed, Bateman was seen as the answer to Baltimore’s prayers when he fell to the 27th overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft, where the Ravens happily selected him out of the University of Minnesota. But a preseason injury stunted the start to his NFL career and Jackson’s late-season injury prevented Bateman from developing chemistry with his star quarterback.

Though he did impress in a few games, Bateman’s sub-optimal rookie year – and his ascension to the top of the depth chart after Brown’s departure – has him determined to show what he can do in the pros.

“I know what I’m capable of. I feel like the Ravens organization knows what I’m capable of,” said Bateman. “I’m excited to go out and finally show it to the fans, and especially my teammates.”

Bateman to Lead Ravens WRs

Bateman is planning to step up in the locker room, too. After the Brown deal went down, he reached out to multiple teammates, including Humphrey and fellow receiver James Proche, about leading Baltimore’s wide receiver room in 2022.

Normally, a 22-year-old entering his second NFL season wouldn’t be seen as a leader of his position group, but there are few alternatives in Baltimore.

The 25-year-old Proche is the oldest member of the Ravens’ receiving corps, and he also has the most NFL experience with two seasons under his belt, along with fellow 2020 draftee Devin Duvernay. But neither have flashed the same potential as Bateman, nor did 2021 fourth-rounder Tylan Wallace in his rookie campaign.

That leaves Bateman as the clear WR1 in Baltimore, though Proche, Duvernay and Wallace will all benefit from additional snaps in 2022 with Brown and Miles Boykin no longer with the Ravens. 

Bateman Almost Ended Up in NFC

Bateman shared several stories with Humphrey during his podcast appearance, talking about his time in Minnesota and his journey to the NFL.

The former Golden Gopher even revealed that he expected to be drafted by the Green Bay Packers in 2021. That would have placed him in the same wide receiver room as Davante Adams, who Bateman regularly studies to improve his own game.

“I felt like I was going to go to Green Bay. I was on the phone with Green Bay all day,” Bateman told Humphrey.

But the Ravens’ first-round selection in 2021 was two spots ahead of the Packers’ 29th overall pick, allowing Baltimore to swoop in on the highly-coveted wide receiver.

Bateman even revealed that he fell asleep on draft night after seeing four receivers drafted before him, including LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase and the vaunted Alabama duo of Jaylen Waddle and Devonta Smith.

“I was down,” recalled Bateman, who remembered thinking, “I’m better than the receivers that were taken before me.”

Bateman’s brother woke him up around the 25th pick, just in time for Bateman to take a call from Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta, who asked him how he felt about playing with Lamar Jackson.

A few minutes later, Bateman was officially selected by the Ravens, bringing him to Baltimore as a core part of the team’s future.