The NFL fanatics across the world felt a bit better earlier this week knowing that we're fewer than 50 days away from the start of the regular season. That, obviously, is still a long road to walk through, let alone having to navigate the hellaciously hot summer.
Good for us football consumers, media outlets keep churning out interesting content worth discussing. In a post written mid-week by Zachary Pereles of CBS, the analyst decided to highlight at least one "under-the-radar" who could "shape the 2023 season" for each NFL team.
Before we move on to check the Ravens player (players, actually!), that Pereles picked, it's worth quoting how he defined "under-the-radar." Sadly, he didn't answer that question but rather described it with a plethora of mini-questions posed by himself, as follows:
"Are ["under-the-radar" players] under-appreciated? Do they play a position not often recognized? Do they have teammates who overshadow them? Do we just not know them … yet? Have we forgotten about them? A mix of some or all of those things? And then these players have to be able to make a big impact, too. Do they play a crucial position? Are they major question marks? Are they X-factors in teams or teammates reaching expectations? It’s a delicate balance."- Zachary Pereles, CBS
With that "definition" out of the way, Pereles broke down his column into all football positions and wrote about 50 different players. Two members of the Baltimore Ravens franchise made the cut: EDGE Odafe Oweh, and WR Rashod Bateman.
Baltimore Ravens EDGE Odafe Oweh
Pereles wrote that first-round pick Odafe Oweh will be "charged with changing" the Ravens' defense by raising the amount of pressure the unit put on opposing quarterbacks last season.
According to Pereles' research, Baltimore "generated pressure on just 30% of opponent dropbacks," something he thinks Oweh will need to help the defense improve at in 2023.
Pereles thinks that Oweh "should be in line for starter duty," though he warned, "David Ojabo could push him." In reality, both players should be good to start at both EDGE positions with Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen as the inside linebackers barring the addition of veterans such as Justin Houston.
Baltimore Ravens WR Rashod Bateman
Pereles acknowledged that Bateman isn’t "the shiny new toy" after the Ravens picked Zay Flowers in this year's draft with a first-round pick, and neither is he "the biggest name" after the signing of Odell Beckham Jr.
However, the analyst believes that Bateman "might have the biggest upside" among all wideouts in Baltimore for the 2023 season.
As Pereles pointed out, Bateman only played a few games before getting injured last year, but he posted 285 receiving yards while grabbing a couple of touchdowns. Pereles thinks the Ravens "will throw more" with new offensive coordinator Todd Monken in charge of Baltimore's offense from 2023 on, and he is sure "Bateman’s presence would be a huge help."
Bateman, a former first-round pick (27th overall) in 2021, played 12 games in 2021 as a rookie racking up 515 yards on 46 receptions (1 TD) while adding 285 yards on 15 receptions (2 TD) last year in six games.
Until Flowers proves he's the real deal and unless Beckham can stay healthy following a year-plus rehabilitation, Bateman should be considered the WR1 of the Ravens entering 2023 and definitely the offensive player that could shape Baltimore's season.