Bateman (undisclosed) returned to practice Wednesday, Jamison Hensley of ESPN.com reports. The rookie first-round pick was removed from practice a week earlier with an undisclosed injury. The brief absence shouldn't have any impact on his bid to earn a key role, as Bateman quickly made it back on the practice field, and he even had a touchdown catch in red-zone drills Wednesday. With Marquise Brown seemingly locked in for one starting spot at wide receiver, Bateman's competition for playing time mostly comes from Sammy Watkins and Miles Boykin, though 2020 third-round pick Devin Duvernay and 2021 fourth-round selection Tylan Wallace could also get involved. It isn't the best setup for rookie-year production, but Baltimore gives Bateman a shot to eventually seize the No. 1 wideout role, considering Brown looks more like a No. 2 receiver through two pro seasons.
Coach Jim Harbaugh indicated after Wednesday's practice that Bateman exited early due to muscle soreness, Jonas Shaffer of The Baltimore Sun reports. Bateman left practice 40 minutes into the session, but he at least returned to the sideline later on. The fact that he's not dealing with an injury is a good sign, but Bateman's reps could still be limited in future OTA practices.
Bateman signed his four-year rookie contract with the Ravens on Wednesday. Bateman's four-year, $12.6 million rookie deal includes a $6.5 million signing bonus. Having selected Bateman in the first round of April's draft, at No. 27 overall, the Ravens will have to make a decision about his fifth-year option come 2024. In the more immediate future, Bateman's draft capital and skill set should give him a near immediate starting opportunity alongside Marquise Brown and Sammy Watkins. The Minnesota standout's ability to create separation off the line of scrimmage should translate well to the pro level, giving Lamar Jackson some much-needed help in the intermediate passing game. That said, the infamously scarce passing volume of Baltimore's offense may cap Bateman's fantasy upside as a rookie.
The Ravens selected Bateman in the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft, 27th overall. Bateman (6-foot, 190 pounds) is a bit light and doesn't offer burning athleticism, but he's an above average athlete overall (4.43 40, 36-inch vertical) and otherwise offers a strong skill set out of Minnesota. The Ravens badly lacked wide receiver talent in 2020, as Marquise Brown was overmatched in a WR1 capacity and the likes of Miles Boykin and Willie Snead mostly went nowhere. Now Lamar Jackson has an advanced technician in Bateman to throw to underneath and in the intermediate, while Brown and free agent pickup Sammy Watkins should give the safeties something to think about over the top. It's not the ideal landing spot for Bateman's fantasy prospects since the target volume might be lacking in Baltimore's run-heavy offense, but he should be a distinctly positive presence in real football terms.
|WK||DATE||OPP||OPP RANK||OPP FPTS|
|1||09/13||@Las Vegas Raiders||23||24.25|
|2||09/19||Kansas City Chiefs||2||18.47|
|6||10/17||Los Angeles Chargers||7||20.25|
|15||12/19||Green Bay Packers||6||19.56|
|17||01/02||Los Angeles Rams||1||16.67|