• Rashod Bateman is expected to be the No. 1 receiver for the Baltimore Ravens
  • The Ravens opted to fill out Marquise Brown's role internally instead of via free agency
  • Bateman and James Proche openly wondered about the criticism against them

The Baltimore Ravens have silently and diligently worked their way towards improving the team via the draft as they look towards a potential Super Bowl run this season.

One player to watch for is sophomore wide receiver Rashod Bateman.

Bateman has been thrust into the No. 1 receiver role after the Ravens traded Marquise Brown and their third-round pick to the Arizona Cardinals for the 23rd overall pick in the 2022 NFL draft, which eventually turned into Iowa center Tyler Linderbaum after another trade--this time with the Buffalo Bills.

Ravens fans have been high on Bateman’s potential as the franchise’s top receiver in the coming years after Brown’s departure since he made his season debut in Week 6.

Against the eventual Super Bowl winners in the Los Angeles Chargers, Bateman brought down four receptions for a total of 29 yards.

It was a decent start for Bateman as quarterback Lamar Jackson made sure to distribute the ball as evenly as possible to the receiving corps, with tight end Mark Andrews being the main man that game with five receptions for 68 yards plus a touchdown.

Bateman’s first and only touchdown of the season came against the Cincinnati Bengals in Week 16 from backup quarterback Josh Johnson after Jackson went down due to injury two weeks prior.

The Ravens surely are putting the pressure on Bateman to exceed expectations this season as he will be leading a group composed of James Proche, Devin Duvernay, Tylan Wallace and Binjimen Victor.

There is no doubt among Baltimore fans that Bateman is a good receiver, but this season will matter a lot when it comes to setting his career trajectory.

The position is definitely his to lose since he will not be competing with “Hollywood” Brown for touches, and the duo of Bateman and Proche even spoke about the criticism that their entire group received during the third day of the mandatory minicamp.

“I just want to know why us? There's like rookie receivers everywhere going crazy, and everybody is talking about us. But we embrace it. It's a challenge, but we're learning from Lamar [Jackson]. We don't really care anymore,” Bateman started.

“It's just noise, just noise,” Proche later added.

With the Ravens counting on Bateman to make a big leap this season, it all boils down to the 27th overall pick of the 2021 NFL draft to put in the work and go beyond his limits.

Rashod Bateman, Baltimore Ravens
Rashod Bateman #12 of the Baltimore Ravens runs with the ball after the catch against John Johnson III #43 of the Cleveland Browns during the fourth quarter at FirstEnergy Stadium on December 12, 2021 in Cleveland, Ohio. Mike Mulholland/Getty Images