Devontez Walker's motivation to crush AFC North rival is exactly what Ravens need

Walker is ready for battle.
Miami v North Carolina
Miami v North Carolina / Grant Halverson/GettyImages

The Baltimore Ravens had to be jumping for joy when North Carolina wide receiver Devontez Walker managed to slide down to the fourth round of the 2024 NFL Draft. Walker is one of the few Day 3 prospects in this class with legitimate starting prospects early in his career.

The rival Cincinnati Bengals were connected to Walker quite often and found themselves in a position to select him, but they ultimately opted for Alabama's Jermaine Burton in the third round. This ignited a hatred of Cincinnati inside Walker.

Walker, who began his college career in Ohio at Kent State, thought he would be picked by Cincinnati. Walker claims the Bengals and Buffalo Bills spent more time with him than any other teams, and hinted the Ravens weren't at the front of his mind. Feeling slighted, Walker is on the warpath.

“I got a bone to pick with Cincy,” Walker said, via "The Lounge" podcast. “That’s where I thought I was going but they took another receiver at that spot... Cincinnati, that game is gonna get rough that game." The rookie has managed to check the "hate the Bengals" box quite early.

Baltimore Ravens rookie Devontez Walker eyeing revenge against Bengals

Burton has talent, but he comes with some controversy after some less-than-stellar reviews of his time in Georgia and some controversial antics during his tenure at Alabama. Burton and Walker were regarded as similar prospects from a talent perspective, but there's a good chance Walker possesses the higher ceiling.

With good size, speed (4.36 40-yard dash), and downfield playmaking, Walker is everything the Ravens need from a young, promising wide receiver. Baltimore might be thanking him for an iffy Senior Bowl performance, as it helped a clear and obvious Day 2 talent take a bit of a slide down to Day 3.

Walker will start the season, in all likelihood, as the Ravens' No. 4 wide receiver behind Zay Flowers, Rashod Bateman, and Nelson Agholor. There's a good chance that a slow start from Agholor and another disappointing season from Bateman gives Walker enough of an opening to become a starter.

Walker and Burton will be compared to one another throughout their respective careers due to how similar they were as prospects and the budding divisional rivalry between them. With both of them having the luxury of elite quarterbacks, Walker will need to work his tail off to win his self-created battle against the Bengals.