Here’s a look at what Baltimore Sun staff members think of the Ravens’ selection of Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman with the 27th pick in Thursday night’s opening round of the NFL draft:
C.J. Doon, editor
The Ravens certainly made a lot of fans — and quarterback Lamar Jackson — happy with this pick. Bateman is a technically sound route runner who can play effectively on the outside or in the slot, giving offensive coordinator Greg Roman plenty to work with. While the addition of veteran Sammy Watkins this offseason was nice, it didn’t solve the Ravens’ need for a true outside threat. Bateman can provide that, and more. Time will tell if he becomes the true No. 1 receiver the franchise has been waiting for, but he’s certainly talented enough to grow into a star.
Daniel Oyefusi, staff writer
When the Ravens finally came on the clock at No. 27 overall, general manager Eric DeCosta had to be happy with the way the board fell to him. Oklahoma State offensive tackle Teven Jenkins was a really enticing option, especially after trading Orlando Brown Jr., but DeCosta went with Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman, the pass-catcher he hopes will end the franchise’s lackluster run of drafting the position. A big target, Bateman can play inside and out, separate and make contested catches, bringing an added dimension to the position group. With a contract extension for Lamar Jackson imminent, this is the first step in continuing to build around the star quarterback through the draft.
Mike Preston, columnist
The Ravens believe they got quarterback Lamar Jackson some help on the outside by drafting Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman with the No. 27 overall pick in the first round. Bateman is not as big as the preferred prototype of 6 feet 3 or taller, but he has good speed and can get off press coverage. He can play outside or in the slot, which could create a lot of mismatches for the Ravens. The Ravens couldn’t get a top receiver to Baltimore through free agency, so they made the next best move by drafting the 6-foot Bateman, who averaged 20.3 yards per catch in 2019. He ran the 40-yard dash in the high 4.3-second range at his pro day.
Rashod Bateman led the Golden Gophers in receiving through five starts but opted out for the remainder of the season after the game with Wisconsin was canceled.
Jonas Shaffer, staff writer
If the Ravens couldn’t get one of the draft’s top three receivers, this was always the pick that made the most sense. The Ravens ask their wide receivers to be versatile; Bateman was dominant as an outside receiver in 2019 and highly productive as a slot target in 2020. The Ravens want speed; Bateman surprised many with a 4.4-second 40-yard dash. And the Ravens want high-character players; Bateman honored his college commitment to Minnesota despite late interest from Southeastern Conference programs.
Childs Walker, staff writer
The Ravens didn’t have to do a thing but wait for the first round to break their way. They ended up with appealing options at their three main positions of need. It was surprising that they didn’t go for a potential Week 1 starter at right tackle in Teven Jenkins, but Rashod Bateman is an adept route runner who gets open and wins battles for the ball on the outside. He was the best receiver fit for the Ravens outside of the top three and should help right away.