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– GM Eric DeCosta had some good things to say about Bateman at the Scouting Combine in March: “The thing I’ve been impressed [about] with Rashod [is] his route running, [he has] very, very good hands and his attitude this year – his ability day-in and day-out to compete, to learn the offense, to challenge the defensive backs every single day, and he made plays when he had the chance. He’s very strong to the football. We think he’s going to make a big, big jump this year in his second year, and we’re very excited for his future.”
– After the team traded Marquise Brown on Night 1 of the NFL Draft, DeCosta added that Bateman “has had a tremendous offseason so far.”
– In his final college season, Bateman led all Power 5 WRs in yards per route run from the outside, according to Pro Football Focus.
– He needed August surgery for a groin injury and missed the team’s first 5 regular-season games (as well as the final 3 of the preseason).
– Bateman garnered 6+ targets in 5 straight contests once he did get onto the field as a rookie. He drew 15.3% target share over the 12 games he played.
– Bateman’s playing time dipped in the middle of that span, but he rebounded to exceed 80% snap share in each of his final 4 games – his 4 largest playing-time shares of the year.
– Bateman’s rookie-year average target depth checked in between 8.8 and 9.6 yards, depending on the source. Both numbers fell 4+ yards short of the average for his college career. Marquise Brown also exceeded both numbers by a decent amount in each of his 3 Ravens seasons. So there’s upside in that area.
– Though he spent ample time both inside and outside as a college receiver, Bateman worked almost exclusively outside as an NFL rookie: 81.7% of routes, according to Pro Football Focus. That position also tends to support deeper ADOT.
– Lamar Jackson posted his lowest PFF passing grade and NFL passer rating of the past 3 years in 2021, leaving rebound potential in his passing performance.
– The departures of Brown and Sammy Watkins leave behind 31.9% of WR target share from last year’s team.
– The Ravens went from 2 straight years of just 44% passing on offense to 56.4% last season, which began with the team losing its top 3 RBs to training-camp injuries. That leaves a wide range of potential outcomes for 2022’s pass-run split.
-- The Athletic's Jeff Zrebiec highlighted WR Rashod Bateman among his "stock up" players through the 1st week of training camp. "He consistently made plays in all areas on the field and cut out the drops that were happening too often in minicamps," Zrebiec wrote.
It’s difficult to know how much we should expect the Ravens to throw this year. They appeared ready to pass more heading into last season, with moves such as the Bateman selection and Sammy Watkins signing. But then Marquise Brown requested a trade, reportedly because the offense was too run-heavy – despite 2021’s swing. If Baltimore stays close to its 2022 passing rate, then Bateman’s target-volume upside climbs well beyond where we have him projected. Even if they swing further back toward pre-2021 levels than we’ve predicted, there’s room for Bateman to deliver WR3-level fantasy numbers. As long as summer hype doesn’t push him higher than mid-WR3 ADP, the 2nd-year man will make for an intriguing selection.
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