The Baltimore Ravens hoped to upgrade Lamar Jackson's passing targets by drafting wide receiver Rashod Bateman in the first round of April's draft.
They'll have to wait to see what he brings to an NFL field. The Ravens placed the speedster out of Minnesota on injured reserve Wednesday with a groin injury. Bateman sustained the injury in practice on Aug. 10 and required surgery.
The Ravens didn't place a timeline on Bateman's return. But he won't see his NFL debut until at least Week 4. The injured reserve designation requires that Bateman miss the first three weeks of the season. Fans can take solace that he didn't land on injured reserve prior to Tuesday's roster cutdown deadline, a designation that would have meant the end of his season.
Who will benefit from Bateman's absence?
Bateman's injury opens opportunities for Baltimore's five active receivers: Marquise "Hollywood" Brown, Sammy Watkins, Devin Duvernay, James Proche II and fellow rookie Tylan Wallace. Baltimore also placed receiver Miles Boykin (hamstring) on injured reserve on Wednesday.
Wallace, a fourth-round pick out of Oklahoma State, could be the biggest beneficiary of extra reps. Wallace offers a similar package of size and speed and projects to play outside where Bateman would. He's likely to see some snaps during the season's first three weeks that he wouldn't have otherwise.