Arguably one of the most underrated receiver prospects in the 2021 NFL Draft, Rashod Bateman has been under the radar for most of his spectacular college career. Bateman seems to have it all, his size, speed, and incredible route running sets him apart from most of the other receivers in this class. At Minnesota Bateman broke out his sophomore year, and was on track for another incredible season, before opting out after five games. Even with the opt-out, the skills Bateman showed during both his short junior year as well as his sophomore season have kept him as a first-round receiver in many mock drafts.
Rashod Bateman Stats and Measurables:
Weight: 210 pounds
1. During his career at Minnesota, Bateman has shown that his route running is top-notch, and may be the best in this class even above the likes of DeVonte Smith, Ja’Marr Chase, and Jaylen Waddle. His burst coming out of breaks is remarkable, and his acceleration helps him get to full speed before a defender realizes what happened. Bateman is also excellent at manipulating defensive backs. His release off the line of scrimmage creates space that lets him execute his route smoothly without getting jammed or stuck in contact when trying to make a cut.
2. Another strength of Bateman’s is his ability to find the holes in a defense’s zone. In college, he was frequently able to exploit zone defenses and gain yardage by finding an opening in the zone scheme and making himself available to the quarterback.
3. Bateman’s speed may be the most underrated part of his game. Despite many concerns that he may not be fast enough to be a successful receiver in the NFL, he recently ran a laser-timed 4.39 40 yard dash, much faster than anyone expected. While his combine time may end up being a bit slower, Bateman’s speed is certainly no longer a worry for NFL scouts.
1. Even though Rashod Bateman may be the best route runner in this class, there are times (although rare) when he drifts on his routes. Bateman occasionally will drift to the right when running his routes which gives the defender better leverage. Even though it is rare, it does kind of make the route sloppy, and it’s definitely something that NFL teams will want him to fix.
2. Another area of concern for Bateman is his technique when catching the ball. A lot of times Bateman will try to catch the ball with his body, causing a decent amount of dropped passes. Although he is generally a great pass catcher, his technique definitely is going to be worked on in the NFL.
All in all, Bateman is one the most underrated receivers in this draft class, and while he does have some things he needs to work on, he has a ton of upside. His route running is top of the class and his size and speed help give him this high ceiling. With this high ceiling, Bateman could end up being the best wide receiver in this class, and no matter who picks him on draft day, he will have an impact.