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Late for Work: Pundit Names Rashod Bateman a First-Time Pro Bowl Candidate

WR Rashod Bateman
WR Rashod Bateman

Pundit Names Rashod Bateman a First-Time Pro Bowl Candidate

The Ravens expect a fully healthy Rashod Bateman to have a breakout season, but just how much of a leap can he make in 2024?

Ravens Wire’s Glenn Erby believes a Pro Bowl nod for the fourth-year wide receiver isn't out of the question. Bateman was among seven players Erby named as first-time Pro Bowl candidates for the Ravens.

Including Bateman on the list is a bold move in more ways than one. Not only would it be Bateman's first Pro Bowl nod, but it also would be the first for a wide receiver drafted by the Ravens. The only Ravens wide receivers to make the Pro Bowl were selected as returners.

"A 2021 first-round pick, Bateman missed most of his second season after having foot surgery. He was still dealing with the effects last season after finishing with 56 targets, the fourth-most on the team behind Zay Flowers, Odell Beckham Jr., and Mark Andrews," Erby wrote. "Bateman caught 32 passes for 367 yards and one touchdown, playing in 16 games and starting 12 contests. Bateman will be in line for a more significant target share with Beckham gone."

The Ravens' belief in Bateman is evidenced by the two-year contract extension they signed him to in April. Baltimore Beatdown’s Joshua Reed expects Bateman to play with a chip on his shoulder this season.

"Living up to expectations can be difficult for many first-round picks, especially at wide receiver where so many are borderline elite right out of the gate these days," Reed wrote. "There is even more pressure when playing for a franchise such as the Ravens that has been snakebitten at the position when it comes to hitting on homegrown talent. Bateman will be fiercely determined to prove himself and the front office right by staying healthy and performing to the best of his impressive abilities in 2024."

Jeff Zrebiec Says Marlon Humphrey's Contract Situation Is Worth Watching

The Athletic's NFL writers looked at one player every team whose contract is worth monitoring. For the Ravens, it's veteran cornerback Marlon Humphrey.

"Humphrey still has three years remaining on the extension he signed with the Ravens during the 2020 season. However, this fall could significantly impact his future in Baltimore," Jeff Zrebiec wrote. "The 27-year-old is a three-time Pro Bowl selection, but he's struggled to stay healthy in two of the past three years, and he's not consistently making the impactful plays he did earlier in his career. With his cap number rising north of $25 million next season, Humphrey probably needs a strong bounce-back season to remain with the Ravens in 2025 and beyond."

Humphrey acknowledged on his “Punch Line” podcast recently that he has something to prove this season.

"I was hurt last year. So, I didn't really lock up anybody last year," Humphrey said. "So just get daggum healthy and lock some people up."

Head Coach John Harbaugh said Humphrey, who took some rest days during minicamp, is dealing with some "nagging things" but should be good by training camp.

Trenton Simpson Makes All-Breakout Team

Inside linebacker Trenton Simpson is being counted on to fill the void left by Patrick Queen's departure in free agency, and analyst Bucky Brooks believes the second-year player will be up to the task.

Brooks selected Simpson to his 2024 All-Breakout Team.

"Stepping into Patrick Queen's role isn't easy, but this former Clemson standout is ready for the challenge as a 'hit, run and chase' defender," Brooks wrote. "Simpson's speed, quickness and acceleration could make him a star on an aggressive unit that always encourages defenders to play in attack mode.

"Though he heads into the coming campaign with limited experience, the 2023 third-rounder will benefit from playing beside a heat-seeking missile in Roquan Smith. As opponents attempt to avoid running or throwing at the perennial Pro Bowler, Simpson will have plenty of chances to register 'bang-bang' hits and timely takeaways against unsuspecting rushers and pass catchers."

Ravens' Offensive Line Ranked in Bottom Fourth By Pro Football Focus

Offensive line is the Ravens' most unsettled position group heading into training camp, and that uncertainty was reflected by the unit's placement in Pro Football Focus’ offensive line rankings.

Baltimore's O-line, which will feature new starters at both guard positions and right tackle, was ranked 25th.

"For parts of the 2023 season, the Ravens' offensive line looked like a top-tier unit. However, the team lost three starters: Kevin Zeitler, John Simpson and Morgan Moses," PFF's Zoltan Buday wrote. "And while Tyler Linderbaum is already one of the best centers in the NFL, Ronnie Stanley has not been the same since his injury in 2020. The rest of the offensive line will consist of either unproven young players or offensive linemen who flashed ability as backups but have yet to show they can repeat those outings as starters."

ESPN Analyst Has Ravens Selecting Guard in Early Mock Draft

Speaking of the offensive line, ESPN draft analyst Matt Miller has the Ravens selecting Alabama guard Tyler Booker in his early 2025 mock draft.

"The Ravens lost guards John Simpson and Kevin Zeitler to free agency and did very little to replace them, relying now on backup Ben Cleveland and former seventh-rounder Andrew Vorhees," Miller wrote. "Booker, meanwhile, is the best guard in the nation and would have likely been the top true guard in the 2024 draft class had he been eligible. He's powerful and pancakes defensive linemen with ease. In 2023, he surrendered just four pressures and one sack over 13 starts at left guard. This is the type of no-nonsense interior blocker whom the Ravens covet."

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