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Credit the Ravens for sticking with their young wide receivers

Through three games, the Ravens wide receivers have surpassed all expectations

Baltimore Ravens v New England Patriots Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

After trading wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and not drafting a wide receiver with the next 10 draft picks, there was a clear “here we go again” from the fanbase and media, knowing with each wide receiver option the Ravens could pursue, there would be an uproar to sign them or argument against inking a deal.

Following the trade, General Manager Eric DeCosta joked about the wide receiver questions returning; he also expressed confidence in the young wide receiver corps, with Rashod Bateman at the helm.

“Again, I was thinking about that, and I kind of missed all the questions [about wide receivers] this year,” DeCosta said. “So, I was thinking, I kind of want to get back to the days of old, you know? Listen, I think that we have some good young players. I’m excited. Rashod [Bateman] has had a tremendous offseason, so far. He’s in great shape. We’ve got Mark [Andrews], and he’s about as good as you get. Devin [Duvernay] made a jump this year. He’s a Pro Bowl special teams guy, Pro Bowl returner. His best has yet to come. James Proche II had some moments last year. [He] had some big games and some clutch plays.”

DeCosta and the Ravens didn’t go pay a king’s ransom for Deebo Samuel, D.K. Metcalf, Tyreek Hill, Terry McLaurin or other big-name wideouts fighting for a contract extension or trade from their respective franchises. They didn’t spend top-dollar for Christian Kirk, Kenny Golladay, Allen Robinson or Julio Jones.

Instead, Head Coach John Harbaugh reiterated confidence in their young wide receivers on the first day of training camp.

“I think Rashod [Bateman] can have a big jump, and the fact that he’s going to go through training camp should be a big help to him,” Harbaugh said. “He looked good today, so we’ll see where he goes.”

Quarterback Lamar Jackson also shared his excitement with the young, speedy group.

“We’ve got a lot of guys who are going to grind,” Jackson said. “We’ve got ‘Duv’ , we’ve got ‘Pro’ [James Proche II], we’ve got ‘Bate’, we’ve got [Isaiah] Likely, we’ve got Mark. We’ve still got guys out here. It’s all good.”

Three games in, the Ravens’ offense is off to a blistering start. Andrews, in typical fashion, leads the team in receiving yards (245) and tied with Duvernay for receiving touchdowns (3). Narrowly behind him is Bateman, with 226 yards and two touchdowns. He’s generated two 50+ yard plays, both scorching touchdowns.

Bateman hasn’t been alone in uplifting the wide receiver group, with Duvernay dominating in both stretching the field with high-end speed and high-pointing red zone fades that have left Ravens fans wondering if it’s Anquan Boldin snatching touchdowns from the sky.

The passing game has been the greatest part of the Ravens this season. The offense has been called “scariest version of the Baltimore offense” by The Ringer’s Bill Simmons and Jackson looks better than when he won league MVP in 2019. He currently leads the league in passing touchdowns (10) and quarterback rating (119.0). He’s been carving up defenses and his wide receivers are at the forefront.

The Ravens stuck to their young talent and gave them the opportunity to succeed or fail. They entered the season signing only wide receiver Demarcus Robinson, opting to give Bateman, Duvernay and Proche to earn their reps. Thus far, Bateman and Duvernay have combined for 347 yards and five touchdowns in three games.