He already did the most important thing: buy his mom a house. Now, the Baltimore first-round pick gets his first chance to turn heads on the field.
Tasked with upgrading their receiving corps around star quarterback Lamar Jackson, the Baltimore Ravens chose Rashod Bateman with the 27th pick in April’s NFL Draft.
And it’s easy to see why Baltimore opted to go in that direction.
An All-Big Ten player at the University of Minnesota who scored 19 touchdowns in 31 games, the 6-foot, 21-year-old Bateman provides the combination of football prowess and no-nonsense attitude that NFL front offices dream about: When Boardroom asked him what he does in his spare time, he said he mainly gets treatment for his legs and lower body, stretches, and watches film.
“I’m addicted to football, and it’s my job now,” he said. “Your legs are definitely the No. 1 priority that get a lot of work and overuse. I gotta stay locked in and be ready at all times.”
The Ravens obviously loved hearing things like this during the pre-draft process, and now, things are really kicking into high gear. With minicamp and voluntary workouts in the rear-view, preseason training camp got underway for Baltimore’s rookies on July 20. The team could use more weapons around Jackson given that they ranked last in the NFL in passing yards per game last season and 31st in the league over the last three seasons combined, so it’s not hard to fathom where Bateman fits into Greg Roman’s offense.
As with any first-year guy, life started moving at warp speed for him following April’s NFL Draft. Relocating from the Twin Cities to Baltimore was quickly followed by minicamp and OTAs and weeks of training in the Phoenix area to prepare for training camp.
And now that he’s no longer in college, Bateman said that learning to do things on his own has been his biggest NFL adjustment.
“In college, you’ve always got coaches calling and checking in, knowing and making sure you’re at the right place at the right time. But when you get to the NFL, it’s obviously a professional job,” he said. “You’ve gotta mature really fast, take care of your business. Luckily, I had those traits when I was in college. So I just carried them over.”
Throughout his college career and leading up to the draft, Bateman’s agent, Blake Baratz of IFA, saw these traits and knew right away he would become an ideal client.
“His work ethic, character, maturity and intelligence is off the charts,” said Baratz, the agency’s founder and owner. “A lot of guys this day and age are very out of touch with reality or not self-aware, but he’s eclectic, he’s unique, he’s empathetic. He’s just a good person.”
Bateman bought his mother a house with his first NFL paycheck, a heartfelt gesture magnified by the domestic abuse Rashod had to witness her suffer as a child. This was made possible in part because he became the first No. 27 pick in league history to sign a fully guaranteed contract.
The four-year, $12.6 million pact included a reported $6.5 million signing bonus.
While he said he’d like to keep his various investments to himself, Bateman has a wide array of endorsements lined up, including Adidas, Panini, Onyx, Wild Card, Sage, Fanatics, and Filti.
“I’m just amazed by them all,” the Georgia native said. “I’m a rookie, so I’m still getting used to this. Everything’s still cool to me. I’m not really used to this lifestyle yet.”
All the endorsement deals Bateman has now were unavailable to him throughout his time at Minnesota, as NIL only recently became the law of the land in college sports. He said there definitely would have been impactful financial opportunities out there as a Golden Gopher if he were at least a year younger, but that he’s happy that current student athletes can finally benefit from name, image, and likeness rights themselves.
“It should’ve been in play a long time ago,” Bateman said, “but I’m just happy that players can finally get what they deserve.”
Bateman is now about looking forward, to training camp, to preseason, and building a rapport with an MVP quarterback like Jackson. He said he tries not to judge anyone before meeting them — Jackson included — but concluded that his QB is a fun guy to be around, a humble guy, a hard worker, and someone he’s definitely looked up to.
“In the NFL, everybody’s good,” he said, including the Ravens defensive backs he’s practiced against. “So just being out there on the field with Lamar and JK Dobbins, James Proche, just seeing players working, balling, hustling, everybody out there’s good. So I was just amazed by everybody I saw.”
Now, it’s time for Bateman to prove that he not only belongs out there with his veteran Baltimore teammates, but that he can thrive right away in his rookie season and help take the Ravens’ passing game to the next level.