But the Ravens will be in much better shape this season with Bateman, Brown and Watkins — once Jackson is back, of course — and there’s enthusiasm around the team about the upgrades at the position and how the wide receivers will complement each other, according to a source.
Ravens offensive coordinator Greg Roman is particularly enthused by Bateman.
“I see some real potential in terms of how we can deploy him. He’s learning all three different positions right now,” Roman said Wednesday. “We’re really excited to have him. I’m not going to get too effusive with my praise just yet, but he’s doing a really good job.”
Bateman, who’s shown quickness and big-play ability in camp, was PFF’s 17th-highest-graded draft-eligible wide receiver (81.1) in what wound up being a volatile junior season for the Minnesota product.
The Ravens also have some talented players lower on their wide receiver depth chart. Boykin provides size once healthy, Duvernay adds a spark of athleticism off the bench and Proche has the best hands in the group. He snagged a football just inches from the ground during Wednesday’s session and has sudden quickness to get separation in the slot. Rookie Tylan Wallace, a fourth-round pick, has also shown consistent hands in training camp.
Odafe Oweh: Laser-Focused on NFL Success - Clifton Brown
“We got better – that’s how I can take it,” Oweh said. “It’s an opportunity for me to learn from a guy that has [97.5] sacks; that’s always great. I’m learning from Calais [Campbell] every day, and now you just added another guy that has a history of just getting to the quarterback. I can use help, every angle I can get. We just added another nice outside linebacker, so I just see it as competition, as well, but we got better. So, I’m good.”
Oweh seems to be feeding off the intensity of training camp, and there have been times when he has whizzed past defensive tackles like a blur into the backfield. He’s working on developing a signature spin move in practice that has already been effective.
“I have a lot of twitch, so I can do that pretty fast,” Oweh said. “So, that’s something that I’m going to try to keep on perfecting and getting better at.”
“I hate when people think that because I’m new to football, I’m not true to it,” Oweh said. “I’m true. I’m as dedicated to this as people who’ve been doing it their whole lives. Football is now my craft.”
Ravens CB Tavon Young is ‘right on schedule’ after two injury-shortened seasons. The defense is counting on it. - Ryan McFadden
“It’s always good to get back on the field,” said Young, who was drafted 104th overall in 2016. “I still feel fast. I’m running with everybody. I don’t feel behind. I’m just doing what I do.”
“It’s amazing how far he’s come back from all the different injuries, and they’re freak injuries,” the longtime defensive coach said. “It’s one of the toughest things to do as a player — is to sit there and rehab while your teammates are playing. And he’s done that, and he’s ready to go.”
“When I’m out there playing in the field, I don’t worry about nothing that’s going on down there,” said Young, referring to his knee. “I’m just playing ball, going full speed.”
“When we’ve got [Young] out there, we can do so many different things,” safety Chuck Clark said. “He just brings a different element to us, being out there. His personality, his character, we love having him back.”
When Patrick Queen plays downhill with confidence, he’s one of the best players on the field. Wednesday was no exception as he blitzed effectively and showed good awareness in coverage. The traits are there for the 2020 first-round pick to be an impact performer if he finds more down-to-down consistency.
That timing coincides with Jaylon Ferguson having his best practice of camp with two pass breakups dropping into coverage. The third-year outside linebacker also blew past veteran offensive tackle Andre Smith for a pressure and brought heat a few other times. He needs more days like that.
Given the offensive struggles, Lamar Jackson’s return should be invigorating, but Greg Roman must juggle catching him up while advancing with everyone else. “The train has already left the station. He’s in his cabin car right now, but once he gets out of there, the train is down the road.”
2021 NFL Survivor Squad: Building a 32-man juggernaut with one pick from every single team - Jared Dubin
Slot corner: Marlon Humphrey (Ravens)
Humphrey is a fantastic slot corner, but he also isn’t just a slot corner. He splits his time between the slot and out wide, and he is incredibly tough to shake no matter where he’s lined up. He’s given up a 77 passer rating across his four NFL seasons, per PFF, and in case you’re wondering, that is a rather significantly below-average mark. He’s going into his age-26 season and should be headed into his physical prime over the next few years. Great, great player.
Predicting future Hall of Famers for all 32 NFL teams - James Fragoza
Baltimore Ravens: Justin Tucker, K
Although the Ravens have a couple of players who could push for a Hall of Fame bid, none have a better case than Justin Tucker. While kickers normally don’t receive attention until they misfire, Tucker is renowned across the league as one of the best to do it. According to Pro Football Reference, he has nailed an astonishing 90.7% of his field goals, the highest rate in a career since 1938.