Baltimore Ravens find perfect fit in wide receiver Rashod Bateman

Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens, 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports)
Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens, 2021 NFL Draft (Photo by Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports) /

With the 27th overall pick in the 2021 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select Minnesota wide receiver, Rashod Bateman.

The former Minnesota Golden Gopher is exactly what the Ravens offense needed in order to continue to develop 2019 NFL MVP Lamar Jackson at the quarterback position. At 6-foot-2, 210-pound Bateman is a solid big-bodied jump ball wideout complement to fellow former first-round wideout in speedster Marquise ‘Hollywood’ Brown.

Bateman, the fifth wide receiver taken in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, had an up-and-down 2020 season, but thanks to a strong 2019 season, he is deserving of this spot. He showcased strong hands, high-end route running, the ability to take the top off a defense, and playmaking ability with the ball in his hands in his spectacular 2019 season.

However, in 2020 Bateman struggled with inconsistent hands, some drops, and seemed slower than his 4.39 40-yard dash speed would suggest. He still finished the 2020 season with 36 receptions and 472 yards in just five games.

The Baltimore Ravens select Rashod Bateman at No. 27 in the 2021 NFL Draft

For Baltimore, Bateman could be the missing piece for the team that has faced inconsistent wideout play over the past few seasons. After adding Sammy Watkins this offseason, it is likely the Ravens want to focus more on attempting to have a stronger passing game surrounding Jackson.

It is difficult and unlikely that the team will move away from the strong running game produced by Jackson, J.K. Dobbins, and Gus Edwards, but the Baltimore Ravens must take that next step offensively to compete with the Kansas City Chiefs and Buffalo Bills in the AFC.

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The Ravens are expected to sign former Steeler offensive tackle Alejandro Villanueva to take over for the recently traded Orlando Brown Jr. With that Brown Jr, deal the team will also be picking at 31 and should look towards adding an EDGE rusher after losing both Matthew Judon and Yannick Ngakoue in free agency.