Mailbag: What Stats Will Rashod Bateman Put Up in Year 2?

WR Rashod Bateman

Mink: I think 10 touchdowns is pretty lofty. Mark Andrews had a monster season last year and finished with nine. Andrews will still probably be a top red-zone threat and Lamar Jackson will run some in, too. Only eight wide receivers in the league scored 10+ touchdowns last season. So I'll take under 10 touchdowns this year for Bateman.

However, I think Bateman could still put up very good numbers this season. The Ravens clearly have a lot of targets to go around after the trade of Marquise Brown, who finished with the 10th-most in the league last season (146). Bateman will get a large chunk of those targets. Bateman had 515 yards on 68 targets last year. Let's just say his targets double to 136, which is certainly possible. That would put him at 1,030 yards, or right around where Brown finished last season. Plus, there's no doubt that Bateman is a better player (and healthier) in Year 2 than he was as a rookie.

Now, I do think the Ravens are going to run the ball more than they did last season as they get back to more of their 2019 formula of leaning on the running backs and tight ends more. However, there's still plenty to go around and Bateman is the unquestioned No. 1 wide receiver.

Put me down for about 85 catches for 1,100 yards and eight touchdowns for Bateman in Year 2, which would be a highly successful campaign.

The running back group has become more of a talking point over the last week and I'm getting a sense of concern from Ravens fans. J.K. Dobbins and Gus Edwards have yet to take the field in training camp, but Dobbins' return could be on the horizon. He's been pushing the coaches and training staff to let him practice since minicamp back in June, and he took to Twitter before training camp to emphasize he'll be ready to go at the start of the regular season. Edwards' timetable is murkier, but he may not be available for the season opener vs. the Jets on Sept. 11. Even if Dobbins is back Week 1, the Ravens will ramp up his workload rather than giving him 30 carries in his first game back from a serious knee injury. That means the Ravens will need to rely on some of the other options they have in the backfield.

My best guess right now is that the Week 1 backfield incudes Dobbins, Mike Davis, Corey Clement and Tyler Badie. Fourth-year back Justice Hill is another key player to watch in this mix, and he could earn a role on the 53-man squad over the course of training camp. Hill has been impressive during spring and summer practices after recovering from a torn Achilles, so I'm not ruling him out at all. Davis is a veteran running back who gives the Ravens a proven option early in the season as Dobbins gets back to full strength. I expect Davis to have a significant role in this offense to start the year, and maybe beyond that. The Ravens could try to get Hill on the practice squad as a veteran exception, but another team may claim him if he hits the waiver wire.

Mink: You're ruling out Marcus Peters in this scenario, which I think is far too premature. Peters isn't on the field yet at training camp but I fully expect that he'll be ready to go Week 1. The Ravens are just taking their time with bringing back their rehabbing stars, especially with someone as established as Peters. He doesn't need practice time as much as some of their young corners.

The No. 3 cornerback spot is the most interesting. When the Ravens signed Kyle Fuller at the end of May, it was assumed that he would grab that role by default. I'm not so sure about that now. Fuller has looked solid in training camp, but Brandon Stephens has had his moments too. Stephens is getting a lot of run time and the physical Year 2 cornerback is absolutely in the mix for significant snaps this season.

Downing: First of all, the key to this best-case scenario is having Ronnie Stanley at left tackle. The veteran is key to the whole equation. If Stanley is back at left tackle and playing at an All-Pro level again, then I have little doubt about the offensive line getting back to its dominant level of the 2019 season. As far as the rest of the group, barring any injuries, it will be Tyler Linderbaum at center, Kevin Zeitler at right guard and Morgan Moses at right tackle. Left guard is the only spot up for grabs, and I'll go with third-year lineman Tyre Phillips in that spot. Ben Powers currently has the lead at the left guard spot, but Phillips is a talented player with a high ceiling who could surpass Powers over the course of camp. Phillips has to stay healthy and prove he can be consistent, but he could prove to be a real asset for this line if he blossoms this summer and plays to his potential.

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