Ravens WR Rashod Bateman is an early breakout candidate for 2022

Kristen Wong
Ravens, Rashod Bateman (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images)
Ravens, Rashod Bateman (Photo by Scott Taetsch/Getty Images) /

Despite a middling Year 1, Baltimore Ravens wideout Rashod Bateman could enjoy a breakout season in 2022 given the right circumstances.

The No. 27 overall pick missed the beginning of the 2021 season due to a groin injury, but now that he has more experience in Greg Roman’s offensive scheme, Bateman is on track to becoming a productive starting-caliber receiver.

Nearly everything Bateman showed throughout his college career manifested in the pro league as well: sure hands, strong route-running capabilities, and the size and speed to work the slot and open areas of the field.

PFF’s Anthony Treash listed every NFL team’s breakout candidate for 2022, picking Bateman for the Ravens.

"“The 2021 first-round pick has stated how the “IQ of the game” was the biggest adjustment for him his first year in the NFL. Bateman had a tough time effectively separating on the outside in the NFL, but given his collegiate dominance with his releases and route-running, there’s reason to believe he takes a big jump in 2022 with a clean bill of health and stable quarterback situation.”"

Bateman earned a 64.9 overall PFF grade in 2021, an accurate reflection of his solid but unimpressive production last season. He caught 46 passes for 515 yards (ranked third on the team) and added just one touchdown.

Ravens wide receiver Rashod Bateman is ready to take the next step in 2022

Treash notes that Bateman did shine in contested catches, though, securing 10 of his 15 such targets as a rookie.

Bateman averaged 11.2 yards per reception but 1.26 yards per route run, suggesting that the Ravens didn’t include him in passing plays as often as they could have.

On top of that, Lamar Jackson missed stretches of the season due to his ankle injury and failed to generate explosive chemistry with Bateman. In 2021, Bateman sat out of some of Jackson’s most efficient games such as Week 2 against the Kansas City Chiefs and Week 5 against the Indianapolis Colts.

Once both Jackson and Bateman are healthy and start to gel with one another, Baltimore’s passing offense will get a guaranteed boost, and Bateman could start producing at Mark Andrews levels as one of the team’s uber-reliable targets.

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PFF lists Bateman as an early breakout candidate for a reason. Plenty could still happen between now and the start of the 2022 season, and Bateman will still face his share of challenges before he can blossom into the wide receiver Baltimore needs him to be.

As with any rookie, Year 2 will be crucial for Rashod Bateman’s continued development.