Next up my series of prospect profiles is the stud Minnesota Golden Gopher WR, Rashod Bateman. He’s widely considered after the 4th best WR in one of the best classes ever at the position (after Chase, Waddle, & Smith), and some people even have him ranked higher than that. He only played in 5 games in 2020 while racking up 472 receiving yards with 2 TD’s before opting out of the season for a second time. However, if he played a full 13 game schedule, as he did in his first two collegiate years, he would’ve easily had over 1,000 yards. He wasn’t helped out too much by his QB play either, as Tanner Morgan had a pretty below-average season, to put it nicely. In 2019, Bateman put up 1219 receiving yards with 11 scores as a sophomore, after putting up 704 yards with 6 tuddies as a true freshman in 2018. It’s also important to point out that he played more in the slot this year to refine his skills at the Z receiver position, after playing primarily as the X receiver (on the outside/perimeter) earlier on in college. He will play mostly on the outside in the league, but he has the ability to beat you in the slot with his quick feat and that versatility will be key at the next level. The #1 key trait that I look for in WR prospects is route running and is one of the best two at that in the class between him and DeVonta Smith.
His route running has drawn comparisons to Keenan Allen, but I also see a lot of Stefon Diggs and even a little OBJ, who he actually works out with from time to time. Diggs & OBJ are masters at the slant and are threats to take it to the house at any time, similar to Bateman. He is also physical both at the line of scrimmage & after he has the ball in his hands. He isn’t afraid to hit people, which you love to see in a receiver.
Bateman could be drafted anywhere from the mid-teens, to possibly the early 2nd round, but I don’t see the latter happening. Look for teams like Washington at 19, Cleveland at 26, and Baltimore at 27 to have their eyes on him. Once Chase, Waddle, & DeVonta are off the board, receiver-needy teams are going to be scrambling frantically for the position.