The Minnesota Golden Gophers have produced an absolute stud in Rashod Bateman. He’s got a great frame, surprising long speed, he’s a crafty route runner, one of the best high pointers in CFB, he’s consistent, and he’s got some of the most reliable hands next to DeVonta Smith. Bateman truly is the whole package at receiver. He is generally mentioned behind names like Waddle, Smith, and Chase, but does he belong in the same category as them?
Position: Wide Receiver
Number: #0 (2020), #13 (2018-2019)
Weight: 210 lbs
2019 Stats: 13 games played/60 receptions/1,219 receiving yards/11 receiving touchdowns/20.3 yards per catch
2020 Stats: 5 games played/36 receptions/472 receiving yards/2 receiving touchdowns/13.1 yards per catch
1.Bateman is a wonderful route runner. He creates great seperation with his hard cuts and breaks at the top of his routes. He can run every single route in the tree, Minnesota really gave Bateman free rein. His ability to cut and flip his hips as quick as he does is impressive at his size and helps him get great positioning on the corner.
2.One of Bateman’s best traits is his physicality. He is really physical at the line of scrimmage in order to get positioned right after the snap and isn’t afraid to engage in a little hand fight through his route. At the catch point, Bateman looks like an All-Star center and will box out opposing corners to make the grab. Rare but highly desirable trait.
3.Bateman is hard to tackle after the catch. His big physical frame becomes a slippery surface after the catch and he knows when and where to go limp in order for defenders to just slide off his body. He’s decisive in where go goes post catch and the few defenders that catch up with him have a 50/50 chance of taking him down.
1.Bateman is at least average at everything. He is physical, he’s a great route runner, he catches every ball, and he’s great after the catch but there are some things that could use some polishing. He plays football with that aggressive “dog” mentality so the willingness to block is there. He could use some polishing on perimeter blocking. He could also use a little touching up on footwork at the line, deceptive footwork at the top of routes, and some juking help. Overall there isn’t much to complain about.
He isn’t the all-world receiver that Ja’Marr Chase is, he isn’t the pure winner that DeVonta Smith is, and he isn’t the lightning in a bottle that Jaylen Waddle is, but he absolutely belongs in the same tier as them. Bateman is a producer who is an overall NFL ready player. He isn’t confined to the slot or to the outside. He is effective against all coverages, and proved that in college. He is consistent on a game to game basis and would be the best receiver on most teams in the NFL. Rashod Bateman will be an annual 1,000+ yard and 10+ touchdown receiver with the right team and needs to be treated with more respect in the pre draft process.
Draft Projection: First Round
Pro Comparison: Michael Thomas