Top-10 NFL Draft Prospects Still on Gopher Football Roster, According to SI

Photo: Brad Rempel / University of Minnesota Athletics

Earlier today, we highlighted two Minnesota Gophers who were named to the Big Ten All-Decade team this week. Both Antoine Winfield Jr. and Tyler Johnson were also selected in the 2019 NFL Draft, along with 3 other teammates. Tonight, I came across an article from Sports Illustrated, which pinpoints the top-10 future draft picks that still remain on PJ Fleck’s roster, entering the 2020 season. Spoiler: He loves Rashod Bateman.

Rob Rang wrote the article and he deep-dives the star Gophers WR, who he loves just like everyone else. His opening statement on the entire team, though, reminds us just how legendary the 2019 season was…

One needs to go back over a hundred years to Minnesota’s back-to-back undefeated seasons of 1903-1904 to top the 11-2 mark that P.J. Fleck and his Golden Gophers accomplished last season.

Rob Rang – Sports Illustrated

Rashod Bateman Deep Dive

I don’t know if I’ve ever read an in-depth prospect profile that I’ve liked more than this one by Rob. I haven’t even read the “weaknesses” that he lists because I don’t want to come off cloud-9.

After reading Rob’s “positives” about Bateman, how can he find anything negative to say about our favorite Gopher WR? I’m very interested to see how much attention Rashod gets from opposing defenses, early on in the season.

Don’t worry. We’ll still get to the full list of future Minnesota Gophers draft prospects but you have to read this. This is only 1/3 of the “strengths” paragraph. It is such gold, I want to make sure he gets clicks for it too.

Here is the first part:

Strengths: With the feet of a ballerina and the route-savvy of a 10-year NFL veteran already, Bateman can lose his own shadow. His initial quickness and almost instant-acceleration leave cornerbacks on their heels and Bateman plays it well, using subtle gait shifts and should dips to create throwing angles. He explodes out of his breaks, planting and GOING, gaining clearance often even when defenders anticipate the route.

Rob Rang – Sports Illustrated

Gophers Top-10 NFL Prospects

Rob eventually dives into his top-10 list of Gophers, who could be drafted to the National Football League. I’m pretty impressed with his list. I don’t think I strongly disagree with any of his names, or where he listed them.

The guy who could climb this board the quickest, is Boye Mafe. If he has a monster year or two, with starter reps, he could jump into the first or second round. He’s a monster athlete.

On the other end, is Daniel Faalele. He is listed as Rang’s #2 most draftable player and I’d probably agree. However, after an injury-riddled Sophomore season that didn’t start off very successfully while healthy… I need see Faalele reach that level of dominance we’ve been waiting for, before I crown him.

  1. Rashod Bateman, WR, 6-1, 205, JR
  2. Daniel Faalele, OT, 6-8, 400, JR
  3. Benjamin St-Juste, CB, 6-2, 200, rSR
  4. Tanner Morgan, QB, 6-2, 215, rJR
  5. Conner Olson, C, 6-4, 305, rSR
  6. Coney Durr, CB, 5-10, 200, rSR
  7. Mohamed Ibrahim, RB, 5-09, 210, rJR
  8. Esezi Otomewo, DL, 6-5, 275, SR
  9. Chris Autman-Bell, WR, 6-1, 215, rJR
  10. Boye Mafe, DE, 6-4, 260, rJR

*Ranking via Rob Rang – SI

I would highly recommend reading Rob’s entire piece, if you haven’t already. However, if you’d like an even better deep dive on Rashod Bateman (from a more accomplished journalist), you can read our own Brendan Hedtke’s blog from last week, about the Gopher star.

How far away is Minnesota Gophers Football? This is the longest summer of all time…

Eric Strack | Minnesota Sports Fan

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