The Marquise Brown trade left Baltimore threadbare at receiver, but the franchise has since backed young talents like Bateman, James Proche, and Devin Duvernay to step up this season.
Bateman carries the brunt of expectations as the pass-catcher with the most upside, and in his second year in the NFL, he could be in line to set a few Ravens’ receiving records.
After a slightly disappointing rookie season, Bateman still has much to prove yet stands alone as the most promising wideout in the Ravens’ offensive squad.
NFL.com’s Bucky Brooks listed his top-10 second-year breakout candidates for 2022 and had Bateman at third overall:
"“The decision to trade Marquise “Hollywood” Brown leaves a huge void in the Ravens’ receiving corps. He added a big-play dimension at his position with his speed and explosiveness.Although Bateman is more of a chain-mover than a home run hitter, he is a natural WR1 with sticky hands and crafty route-running skills. He should excel as the complementary playmaker opposite Mark Andrews and the Ravens’ rookie tight ends.”"
Baltimore Ravens rightfully expect great things from Rashod Bateman in 2022
Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence and San Francisco’s Nick Bolton were the top two second-year breakout candidates, but Bateman can make a strong case for his potential to put together a groundbreaking second season in Baltimore.
Amid rumors that the Ravens would pursue Jarvis Landry or Julio Jones, the front office seems wholly content with its starting options and most likely won’t add a veteran to its wide receiving corps for 2022 — that means Bateman is the de facto WR1, and he’ll look to generate chemistry with Lamar Jackson to take a leap in his career.
Jackson himself earned league MVP in his unforgettable second year in the league, so the star quarterback clearly knows a thing or two about adapting to the NFL and adjusting to pressure. Bateman will need to do the same, building off of the solid 515 receiving yards he hauled in last season.
Bitten by the injury bug, Bateman missed a crucial initial portion of the 2021 campaign and never quite got in sync with Jackson, who also missed time. The young wideout has the size and the pass-catching ability to fill the hole Marquise Brown left behind, but only if he finds a way to maximize his efficiency in Baltimore’s conservative passing offense.
The Ravens have so far put their full faith in Bateman by not selecting a rookie wideout and not signing a vet, either — now it’s up to Bateman to show his worth on the field.