The 21-year-old only made five appearances for the Golden Gophers in 2020.
Bateman initially opted out last August when significant doubts hovered over the season due to the COVID-19 pandemic. A month later, he announced plans to return after the Big Ten laid out plans for a shortened schedule. But the 6'2" pass-catcher opted out for good in November.
He finished with 36 receptions for 472 yards and two touchdowns.
Here's how Bateman looks in his new offense:
QB: Lamar Jackson, Trace McSorley, Tyler Huntley
RB: J.K. Dobbins, Gus Edwards, Justice Hill
WR 1: Marquise Brown
WR 2: Sammy Watkins
WR 3: Rashod Bateman*, Miles Boykin, Devin Duvernay, James Proche, Jaleel Scott
TE: Mark Andrews, Nick Boyle, Eric Tomlinson
LT: Ronnie Stanley
LG: Bradley Bozeman
C: Patrick Mekari, Trystan Colon-Castillo
RG: Kevin Zeitler, Ben Powers
RT: Tyre Phillips
Even if the Georgia native hadn't played a single down as a junior, he likely would have been considered a Day 1 talent thanks to a breakout sophomore campaign.
Bateman caught 60 passes for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns in 2019, earning first-team All-Big Ten honors. He was eighth among all FBS receivers in yards per reception (20.3).
Minnesota won 11 games, including the Outback Bowl, that season, the school's most victories since 1904. An upset of fourth-ranked Penn State was one of its biggest highlights that campaign, and Bateman (seven receptions, 203 yards, one touchdown) was a standout performer.
In terms of the 2021 draft class, the competition was fierce. Ja'Marr Chase was already projected to be a top-five pick as a sophomore. DeVonta Smith won a Heisman Trophy and may not be the best NFL prospect on his own team, having shared the field with Jaylen Waddle. Purdue's Rondale Moore, LSU's Terrace Marshall Jr. and Florida's Kadarius Toney all had Round 1 resumes as well.
Daniel Jeremiah of NFL Network evaluated Bateman last July and drew some parallels to two-time All-Pro Michael Thomas:
"Bateman has experience playing outside and in the slot. He uses a variety of releases to beat press coverage and is a very precise/clean route runner. He doesn't drift at the top of his route and generates tremendous separation on double moves. His instincts are on display when the play breaks down, showing a knack for adjusting and uncovering to provide an outlet when the quarterback scrambles."
Bateman's massive yards per catch two years ago belie what helps him succeed on the field. While posing a threat down the field, he isn't the second coming of Tyreek Hill or DK Metcalf. He's likely to be far more effective on short and intermediate routes.
Much like Thomas—a second-round pick in 2016—Bateman could get overlooked a bit because he isn't as explosive as Chase or Waddle. Because of his polish and versatility, though, he should make an immediate impact in Baltimore's offense.
The Ravens were unable to significantly improve their receiving corps through free agency, with ESPN's Jamison Hensley reporting they tried and failed to land JuJu Smith-Schuster or T.Y. Hilton. That left the draft as the easiest place to find some reinforcements for Lamar Jackson.