Rashod Bateman is a big, physical receiver coming out of Minnesota who brings an exciting blend of ball skills, toughness, and route running compacted into a frame that’s NFL ready. Bateman’s mastery of the intangibles combined with an impressive frame make him an interesting receiving prospect.
If there’s one word I had to use to describe Rashod Bateman as a player, it would be tough. He’s a tough receiver, runner, run blocker, and competitor. He does a nice job handling tacklers, and it can take more than the first tackler to eliminate any run after the catch. Bateman is a very refined route runner. He possesses a variety package of releases he uses to create separation, something he seems to do with ease. As a receiver, Bateman has some of the best hands in this class of receivers. He has very few career drops and is strong at the catch point. Bateman also demonstrated nice concentration on deep balls that were thrown his way. I’d like to see him be a little more physical and high point the ball on deep contested catches, but overall Bateman is a pretty good contested catch receiver. After the catch, Bateman can hurt you with his YAC ability. He’s got decent agility and foot quickness, which, when paired with his toughness, makes him a hard player to bring down. Bateman is also capable of aligning outside and in the slot, a nice versatility that NFL front offices will covet.
While Rashod Bateman is a good vertical, contested catch receiver, he only possesses average speed and explosiveness. He won’t be a guy who will stretch an NFL defense with his speed. Bateman also isn’t a freakish athlete, just average, which could very well hold him back in the pros. I also believe Bateman could benefit from adding around 10-15 pounds of weight and muscle to fill out his frame to be able to compete with NFL corners. Finally, Bateman does have a tendency to get too fancy after the catch, meaning he often times tries to do too much to get extra yardage. If he can clean this up and become just slightly more of a north-south runner, this shouldn’t be an issue in the NFL.
Overall, Rashod Bateman won’t blow you away with his measurables or his physical makeup, but does the basics and little things very well. He should be a late day 1 pick in my opinion, but could very well slide into the second round, where some teams may be tempted to trade up to take him. As for a pro comparison, Bateman reminds me a little bit of both Saints wideout Michael Thomas and Vikings receiver Adam Thielen. Maybe with not quite as high a ceiling as those two, but Bateman possesses a similar build and some of the same traits as these two NFL receivers.