OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Ravens coach John Harbaugh was impressed with the short time he spent with rookie wide receiver Rashod Bateman on the practice field.
Bateman finished rookie minicamp and was lauded for his route running, pass-catching skills, and initial knowledge of the playbook.
“First impressions are very positive," Harbaugh said. "He’s a no-nonsense guy. He has a nice demeanor about him. He’s a quick learner. [He’s] everything we thought he would be, in terms of the athleticism and the skillset. That’s usually the case, but not always the case. What you see is not always what you get, and you don’t know until you get them out there in, really, the first rookie minicamp. I would say that he is as advertised from a talent standpoint.”
Bateman is one of the most productive wide receivers in the history of Minnesota.
He caught at least one pass in all 31 games he appeared and had 147 receptions for 2,395 yards and 19 touchdowns — fifth in school history. He also recorded ten 100‐yard receiving games — fourth in school history.
Bateman has the versatility to line up multiple ways to exploit matchups.
“My goal is to be the best I can be for this team – whatever that may be," Bateman said. "Like I said the first time, whatever Coach Harbaugh needs, whatever this offense needs, I just want to be that weapon and that person for them.”
Bateman fully understands the learning curve between the college game and the NFL. He spent considerable time talking with his coaches and his footwork and route running.
However, he does appear to be a quick study.
“It’s just details that you’ve got to work on all the time," Bateman said. "Coming from college to the NFL, there are some things that you’ve got to learn. The feels are very different, so I’m just getting adjusted to that – different landmarks and things like that. So, right now, I’m just learning to pick up the playbook, just learning my adjustments and fine-tuning my details.”
Bateman also spent time catching punts on the second day of rookie practice. That will be another big adjustment. He caught punts and kickoffs in practice at Minnesota, but he did not play on special teams.
Both Bateman and fellow rookie wide receiver Tylan Wallace could get a chance to make a further impact on special teams for the Ravens.
"Those aren’t guys that did a lot of punt returning, as an example, in college," Harbaugh said. "And yet, they came out there and they were sponges. They picked up the technique that the coaches were coaching them. I came over and tested them a little bit today, as you probably saw, and they did a good job. So, it’s good to see they pick things up quickly.
"You never know. Devin Duvernay had not done a lot of punt returning in college. and last year, he ended up taking a lot of reps for us and doing a nice job, along with James Proche [II]. So, you never know.”