Rashod Bateman is already off to a fast start.
The Ravens agreed to contract terms with their top pick (No. 27 overall) before the start of rookie minicamp on Thursday. Bateman becomes the first player in Baltimore's 2021 draft class to reach a contract agreement, as he begins his quest to become an impact player in his first NFL season.
Bateman was one of four Ravens draft picks to reach contract terms on Wednesday, joining three fifth-round picks — defensive back Shaun Wade, outside linebacker Daelin Hayes and tight end/fullback Ben Mason.
As a star wide receiver at Minnesota, Bateman was a starter as a freshman and finished his three-year career with 147 catches for 2,395 yards and 19 touchdowns. He showed great hands and the ability to get open while lining up outside or in the slot.
Now under contract, Bateman can focus on getting comfortable in the offense and becoming a reliable target for Lamar Jackson. There will be intense competition among the Ravens' wide receiver group with the additions of Bateman, fourth-round pick Tylan Wallace and veteran wide receiver Sammy Watkins, who was signed during free agency. Bateman is a playmaker with the potential to find a role in the Ravens' offense quickly.
Wade, the 160th overall pick from Ohio State, surprisingly fell to the fifth round after a 2019 season when he was one of the best cornerbacks in college football. However, Wade did not play as well in 2020 after moving from inside to outside cornerback, and he also dealt with injuries and death in his family. Wade is determined to prove something to the teams that bypassed him in the draft.
Hayes, the 171st overall pick from Notre Dame, is a versatile edge rusher who fits Baltimore system as someone physical enough to defend the run. He played standing up and with his hand on the ground at Notre Dame, and he grew up a Ravens fan rooting for Hall of Famers Ray Lewis and Ed Reed.
Mason, the 184th overall pick from Michigan, played both tight end and fullback and earned a reputation in college as a devastating blocker. After being drafted, Mason said he looked forward to being mentored by Ravens Pro Bowl fullback Patrick Ricard.