Last year, the Minnesota Gophers sent Tyler Johnson to the draft. He fell due to some character concerns and some issues with his pre-draft process. This year, Rashod Bateman is up for grabs from Minnesota and has been in the first-round conversation throughout the whole pre-draft process. He can play on the perimeter and in the slot and can play in a variety of different roles for whichever team decides to select him.
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Name: Rashod Bateman
Position: Wide Receiver
Weight: 209 lbs
Route Tree (10/10)
Bateman is one, if not the best, route technicians in the class. He makes his breaks in and out of his cuts look easy and has a variety of different routes he ran for the Gophers. He can easily run double moves and is excellent at it.
There were only one or two passes that have gone through his hands and were counted as a drop by my standards. He can easily pluck the ball out of the air when it is out in front of him. He had an excellent one-handed touchdown grab against South Dakota State.
Contested Catch (10/10)
“My-ball” mentality. Plenty of cases where Bateman out-physicals the defender and comes away with the ball.
His run after the catch ability was one of the traits where people are concerned with Bateman, but I didn’t see many issues. He has enough speed to fly by the defender and can stiff-arm them. If an arm-tackle is attempted on him, he will easily slip it off and keep going.
Bateman doesn’t have blazing speed. He will likely run between a mid 4.4 and mid 4.5 40-yard dash.
He makes everything look easy. His breaks in and out of his routes are great, and he can change direction quickly.
For a player that is sought after as a possession receiver, Bateman has some issues getting off of the line. He has some struggles against press coverage at the line of scrimmage when the defender gets him off of his route, and he gives up on the route at that point. Due to his lack of blazing speed, this could become an issue.
Vertical Receiving (8.5/10)
Due to him not being a speedster, Bateman wasn’t tasked with vertical routes very often. When he is though, he can make easy work of the coverage at hand and find the weakness in it. When he’s on a go route, Bateman can go over the top of the defender and snag the ball when needed.
He’s not going to be a star at the combine. He’s not going to put up elite numbers, but if he runs faster in the 40, his name could be mentioned more towards the top of the first round than it is currently.
When playing in the slot, Bateman has shown that he can work his way down and block an edge rusher out of the play.
No injuries were reported in his collegiate career.
Bateman is good at everything. He has great route running and contested catch ability. While the speed and athleticism might make some teams worried, Bateman has one of the safest floors in the class. He has drawn comparisons to the likes of Allen Robinson, but I saw a lot of Kenny Golladay when I was watching his film. While others like Ja’Marr Chase, Devonta Smith, and Jaylen Waddle have gotten more attention, Bateman could very well outproduce them in his rookie season.
Final Grade (90.25/100): Early-First Round
Player Comparison: Kenny Golladay