Analytics: Ravens Rookie Rashod Bateman Poised to Have Productive Season

Baltimore selected playmaker in the first round.
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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — Rashod Bateman is poised to have one of the most productive years for rookie wide receivers, according to Cynthia Frelund, NFL Network Analytics Expert

Bateman was ranked sixth among the rookie wide receivers for production behind Ja'Marr Chase (Bengals), DeVonta Smith (Eagles), Jaylen Waddle (Dolphins), Terrace Marshall Jr. (Panthers) and Elijah Moore (Jets).

Frelund used "contextualized data" and "computer-vision models" to make her assessment: 

"Ravens wideouts only logged 41 receptions of 10-plus air yards last season, as well as just 78 catches for 952 receiving yards when aligned out wide -- all NFL lows, per Next Gen Stats. (Baltimore was the only team to earn fewer than 1,200 yards from wide alignments.) Route-running precision is a metric my model values more than most, and Bateman thrives in this area, especially when aligned on the outside. I've found that route-running precision leading to separation in college typically plays well in the NFL. 

Over the past two seasons in the FBS, Bateman ranked No. 3 among wide receivers in terms of route-running efficiency (as measured by reliable timing and the ability to create separation) on routes run from outside alignment. Pro Football Focus adds additional context here: Over the past two seasons when it came to intermediate targets (10-19 air yards), Bateman ranked second in the FBS with 44 catches and third with 697 yards. The only reason he ranks sixth on this list is the volume of rushing plays the Ravens are still likely to run."

Baltimore selected Bateman in the first round of the draft and the coaches expect him to make an impact as a rookie.  

Bateman is one of the most productive wide receivers in the history of the University 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.

"I think one of the things that really stood out about Rashod is his safety awareness," Ravens director of college scouting Joe Hortiz said. "That’s really critical, I think, for receivers to find success early is just overall awareness of the defense and what the defense is doing to him pre-snap, during the play, post-snap when everything is moving, when bodies are moving – to be able to process that, and I think he can do that pretty well with his instincts and his feel.

"That’s more advanced, certainly. I think they do a good job up there [at Minnesota] with their wideouts. So, it’s not surprising to see from a player coming from Minnesota. But yes, it’s one of those things that you don’t see … Not every receiver has it coming out. Sometimes it takes a little bit more time.”