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50 Words or Less: Rashod Bateman Is Still a Crucial Player for Ravens

WR Rashod Bateman
WR Rashod Bateman

The first full training camp practice is this week and the news cycle started to heat up yesterday.

Here are my thoughts, all in 50 words or less:

Eric DeCosta said he expects Rashod Bateman to report to camp "very soon." That's good news because even though the Ravens aren't as reliant on Bateman this year as they were last, he's still a crucial player to unlock the heights of this newly designed passing attack.

Last summer, I wrote a cover story about how Bateman was ready to become the No. 1 wide receiver the Ravens needed. Through the first three games, he was playing the part with two long touchdowns, more than 75 receiving yards per game, and nearly 29 yards per catch.

The Ravens added considerably more receiver firepower with Odell Beckham Jr., first-round pick Zay Flowers and Nelson Agholor. Bateman doesn't have to be Batman. But he has just as much talent as any of them. If his foot recovers fully and he stays healthy, it's a spoil of riches.

While J.K. Dobbins was placed on the PUP list Friday, he was at the Under Armour Performance Center when injured veterans reported and was, when I saw him, all smiles (as usual). Paying attention to the bearish running back market and getting ready to ball out aren't mutually exclusive.

Depth is important, and the Ravens are not going to be caught thin at running back. If Dobbins or Gus Edwards, who have yet to participate fully in a practice this offseason, weren't ready to play in any game, the Ravens know Melvin Gordon III can carry the load.

With that said, it's a great sign that Edwards is not starting training camp on the PUP list. For a fourth straight season, Edwards averaged at least 5.0 yards per carry last year. He got stronger each game and looks more muscular than ever this offseason. Start the bus.

Denver Broncos running back Melvin Gordon III (25) against the Indianapolis Colts of an NFL football game Thursday, Oct 6, 2022, in Denver.

486: Breaking Down Ravens' Pre-Camp Moves

The Ravens reportedly hosted Kyle Van Noy and were reportedly set to meet with Dawuane Smoot before he re-signed with Jacksonville. The Ravens are clearly in the OLB market and Justin Houston clearly isn't in a rush. I still wouldn't rule him out, even if another addition is made.

We talked to Flowers for "The Lounge" podcast this week (episode drops Monday). One interesting takeaway: It was the rookie who was aggressive on the text chain pushing everyone to get together. Flowers is a flat-out worker who loves football. I can't wait to see what he can do.

The Ravens got more respect from the makers of Madden this year and the NFL Network will start rolling out its Top 100 players of 2023 on Monday. None of this matters for anything, but it's so darn addictive every single year. I can't resist checking.

Ray Lewis and Ed Reed are Ravens Mount Rushmore slam dunks. Then it gets tough. Jonathan Ogden is the team's other HOF'er. Terrell Suggs embodied a Raven. Joe Flacco was a big-game winner. Jackson is the franchise's biggest star, maybe ever. Here's someone you may not have considered: Ozzie Newsome.

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