Rashod Bateman: I Can Bring Everything Lamar Jackson Needs to Ravens Offense

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistApril 30, 2021

Images of Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman are displayed on stage after he was chosen by the Baltimore Ravens with the 27th pick in the first round of the NFL football draft Thursday April 29, 2021, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
Tony Dejak/Associated Press

The Baltimore Ravens selected Minnesota wideout Rashod Bateman with the No. 27 overall pick in the first round of the NFL draft Thursday night, and the receiver plans to make star quarterback Lamar Jackson's life easier.

"Everything he needs," Bateman told reporters when asked what he would do to help Jackson. "I feel like I'm an all-around receiver, proved I can play inside and in the slot. At the same time, I just want to be what's best for him, what's best for the team. Whatever position that may be, I'm happy to fill that role."

Bateman posted 36 catches for 472 yards and two touchdowns last season in the shortened season but was a monster in 2019, with 60 receptions for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns. He'll pair with Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins to give Jackson an intriguing trio of wideouts this season. 

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Lamar Jackson and Rashod Bateman could be a SCARY duo 👀 (via @BigTenNetwork) https://t.co/s3XL30vN5C

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Ravens OC Greg Roman said the additions of receivers Rashod Bateman and Sammy Watkins will "expand our profile" on offense. "The field is about 53 yards wide, and I think people are going to have to defend all 53 yards of it," Roman said.

Add in Mark Andrews at tight end and J.K. Dobbins at running back—and of course, Jackson's ability to carve up defenses on the ground as well—and the Ravens should provide defensive coordinators with more than a few headaches. 

But can Bateman really cure all of Jackson's potential ills in the passing game?

Perhaps. Daniel Jeremiah of the NFL Network wrote in his scouting report of Bateman that he has "excellent size, burst and route polish. He has spent time outside and in the slot. He's a better fit on the perimeter at the next level, though."

He ranked him 41st overall in this draft class. 

ESPN's Mel Kiper Jr. had him higher on his own big board at No. 26. He agreed with Jeremiah's assessment that Bateman will settle into an outside role, writing that he "showed last season that he can run routes out of the slot, but he's at his best out wide. He's a physical receiver with tremendous size and speed."

Whatever his precise role, Bateman is confident he'll improve Baltimore's offense. 

"I know I can be a No. 1 WR," he told reporters. "That's everybody's job to do that. But I'm here to be the best teammate I can be. The goal is to chase a Super Bowl and whatever my role is, that's what I'm excited to do."