NFL Scouts and 2021 “Way Too Early” Mock Drafts Love Rashod Bateman
Rashod Bateman is no stranger to Minnesota Gopher football fans. In his first two seasons wearing maroon and gold, he’s piled up 111 receptions, 1923 yards and 17 touchdowns. Entering his Junior season, he already sits in the Gophers’ top-10 all-time, for both receiving yards and receiving touchdowns. By the end of 2020, he’ll probably be the best we’ve ever seen lineup out wide, on any Gopher offense…
After his bust out 2019 campaign, the rest of the nation is starting to take notice. The Honey Badger, Tyrann Mathieu, took to Twitter last week and wondered out loud how Bateman landed way up in Minnesota. FanDuel lists the Gopher WR as a dark horse candidate (+10000) to be the #1 overall pick in next year’s draft. Then just this morning, the independent NFL Draft scout OG, Mel Kiper (ESPN), listed Rashod Bateman #8 on his Top-25 2021 Big Board.
Bateman was a yards-after-catch dynamo last season, catching 60 balls for 1,219 yards (20.3 YPC) with 11 touchdowns. At 6-foot-2 with long arms, he has the length to go and get the ball in traffic. He tracks the ball well on deep throws. He has great hands. Check out the footwork on this TD catch. I’m really excited to see another year of Tanner Morgan throwing passes to Bateman, who should put up huge numbers in 2020.Mel Kiper – ESPN
Rashod Bateman, WR, #Minnesota:— Jordan Reid (@JReidNFL) May 2, 2020
• Ball plucker (++)
• Route salesman (++)
• PhD level understanding of leverage
• Violent jab steps to create space (+)
• Excellent field awareness
• Full throttle routes all the time
• Build up speed/runway runner pic.twitter.com/5L9acf4g5H
They aren’t the only ones though… the World Wide Web of NFL mock draft enthusiasts are all over Bateman too. Even Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller, who had a personal vendetta against Tyler Johnson, is mocking Rashod Bateman at #15 overall to the Titans. If Miller is in on a WR from Minnesota, then you know something serious is brewing.
|Media Outlet – Mock Drafter||Bateman Selected|
|CBS Sports – Chris Trapasso||7th Pick – Giants|
|DraftWire.com – Luke Easterling||31st Pick – Ravens|
|Bleacher Report – Matt Miller||15th Pick – Titans|
|Fox Sports – Jason McIntyre||24th Pick – Cardinals|
|Tankathon.com||24th Pick – Packers|
|NFLTradeRumors.com||29th Pick – Titans|
|ClutchPoints.com||19th Pick – Colts|
Now that Tyler Johnson has graduated and been drafted to the NFL, we’ll see what happens to Bateman’s numbers. Being the obvious #1 comes with it’s benefits and challenges. We know it will benefit Bateman, to be the obvious go-to guy entering every game.
However, defensive coordinators clearly struggled last year, having to decide whether to focus their coverage schemes around Johnson or Bateman. That’s why you often saw the stats of both players fluctuate adversely.
The entire defensive game plan against the Gophers in 2020 will now center around Rashod Bateman. He will be the #1, #2 and #3 focus for every defensive coordinator on the schedule (whenever it is played) until PJ and Co. show something else.
That will have its negative side effects too. Don’t get me wrong, Bateman will get his touches no matter what… but how do they come, is the question…? Honestly, I just feel like I should cover all bases because I believe Bateman is going to be a MONSTER this season.
It’s a good thing PJ Fleck is blazing new trails in recruiting, early on this summer. He’s going to need all of those stars to replace the increasing amount of team staples he will start losing to the NFL Draft, as the Gophers improve their profile nationally and win more games more often.
Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan