Good morning New York Giants fans, and welcome to another College Football Saturday!
This week we’re taking advantage of another recent opt-out to take a look at a player we hadn’t anticipated talking about until after the college season wrapped up. Just before Thanksgiving, Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman announced his decision to opt out of the remainder of the 2020 season and declare for the 2021 NFL Draft.
The previous two drafts produced fantastic receiver classes, with DK Metcalf, A.J. Brown, Terry McLauren, and Deebo Samuel emerging as stars in the NFL, whith Justin Jefferson and Tee Higgins right behind them, while Jerry Jeudy, CeeDee Lamb, and Henry Ruggs III show promise despite their circumstances.
Those are big shoes for the 2021 draft class to fill, but this should be another solid group of receivers, and Bateman promises to be among the top at his position.
Prospect: Rashod Bateman (WR, No. 13)
Games Watched: vs. Penn State (2019), vs. Wisconsin (2019), vs. Perdue (2019), vs. Fresno State (2019)
Red Flags: none
Height: 6-foot-2 (6020)
Weight: 210 pounds
Games Played: 31
Yards (YPC): 2,395 (16.3 per catch)
Total Touchdowns: 19
Games Played (starts):
Yards (YPC): 427 (13.1 per catch)
Total Touchdowns: 2
Best: Size/frame, route running, ball skills, burst
Projection: A starting outside receiver with scheme versatility
Minnesota’s Rashod Bateman has good size, athleticism, and route running ability for the wide receiver position at the NFL level. Bateman has a good frame with the height to match up with bigger cornerbacks, long arms, and the size to win physical battles at the line of scrimmage or at the catch point.
Bateman played on both the left and right side of the offensive formation, typically lining up on the line of scrimmage as an “X” receiver. He shows a good burst off the line of scrimmage, wasting little motion getting into his routes. Bateman is adept at using his foot and handwork to secure clean releases against tight man coverage. He is a savvy route runner, varying his stride length to throw off defenders’ timing, as well as subtle hand and body movements to create separation throughout his routes. In addition to being sudden off the line of scrimmage, Bateman is also explosive out of his breaks, creating initial separation which he is usually able to maintain. He is also able to subtly adjust his routes to find voids in coverage.
Bateman excels on deep passes, and does a very good job of locating, tracking, and adjusting to the ball in the air. Likewise, he is a consistent hands catcher, routinely extending to pluck the ball out of the air. Bateman generally shows good competitive toughness, fighting through tight coverages or in contested catch situations. He is a willing blocker when on the play side of screen passes or running plays and works to engage and sustain his blocks.
Bateman has good stop-start quickness as well as explosiveness, but he only has average agility and his long speed is a question. He seems to labor when he has to string multiple moves together, such as in run after catch situations without much room to work. Bateman has merely “okay” speed, though that seems to change when he is able to lengthen his stride running in the open field. He has good competitive toughness, but does seem to become a spectator when he knows he isn’t in the read progression or on running plays to the opposite side of the field.
Rashod Bateman projects as a starting wide receiver with scheme versatility at the NFL level. He will likely be at his best and most productive as an outside receiver in an offense that features vertical concepts. Bateman was a consistent big play threat in Minnesota’s offense, with 15 games averaging more than 15 yards per catch.
He is also able to play inside as a “big slot” as long as the offensive coordinator doesn’t require him to make sharp cuts at speed.
Batemen excels at tracking the ball downfield, adjusting and extending to maximize his catch radius. He is a physical receiver at the catch point, doing a good job of fighting through contested catch situation and putting his body between the ball and defender to limit the opportunities for turnovers. He is also a true “hands” catcher, routinely plucking the ball out of the air with few drops.
While he is unlikely to test out as a particularly speedy receiver, his suddenness off the line of scrimmage and solid route running allow him to play faster than he will likely time. Bateman is a strong receiver who can run through arm tackles, which gives him the ability to pick up yards after the catch.
Bateman will likely be one of the top receivers in the draft and has the potential to be a “Number 1” receiver in most NFL offenses.
Games we’re watching
(12) Indiana at (16) Wisconsin
ABC - 3:30 p.m.
Players to watch
- WR Whop Philor (WR)
- OT Cole Van Laren (OT)
- OL Logan Bruss (iOL)
- ILB Jack Sanborn (LB)
(13) BYU at (18) Coastal Carolina
ESPNU - 3:30 p.m.
Players to watch
- Tarron Jackson (DL/EDGE)
- CJ Marable (RB)
- Zach Wilson (QB)
- Tristen Hoge (iOL)