WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota

WR Rashod Bateman, Minnesota* (6’0”, 190)

Background:

Has been a major contributor for all three seasons. Caught 51-704-6 (13.8) as a freshman, then broke out the following year to the tune of 60-1,219-11 (20.3). Followed that up with 36-472-2 (13.1) as a junior over five games before opting out of the remainder of the season to prepare for the draft.

Positives:

A pretty well-built target who takes snaps on both sides of the formation, playing both split end and in the slot; seemed like the latter was more common this past season. Runs routes to all three levels of the field and is able to work over the middle on crossing patterns, typically at the intermediate level; bread-and-butter is keeping cornerbacks in his hip pocket as he breaks over the middle, creating windows behind opposing linebackers. Very advaced from a technique standpoint. Demonstrates good footwork to release at the line of scrimmage against press coverage. Varies speeds to keep defenders on their heels when going downfield. Has solid speed and the quickness to get through the route stem without shifting down too much. Finds soft spots against zone coverage to create big plays. Presents his quarterback with a wide target, both because of his frame and because of his ability to pluck the ball away from his frame with a solid radius. Works back to the ball. Gets upfield quickly and has the strength to pick up additional yardage after contact. Gives pretty solid effort as a blocker. Production was impressive on a game-to-game basis even this past season.

Negatives:

Was limited to just five games this past season. Production disproportionately comes over the middle of the field. Also got a lot of work in the slot this past season, allowing him to produce against some inside defenders rather than top options. Has the tools to be a strong blocker blocker but fundamentals are a little bit inconsistent when it comes to stalking opponents in space. Was a big-play threat in college but isn’t really a true burner who blows past opponents on go routes. A little bit high-cut. Can occasionally satisfy himself with settling down in coverage rather than working back or improvising to create better passing lanes for his quarterback. Failed to come down with three catchable balls during the games reviewed; seems like he might be hearing footsteps at times. Measured in shorter than expected at his pro day.

Summary:

A very solid outside receiver who combines impressive size and quality route-running skills, with the ball skills of a big receiver and the quickness of a smaller player. Looks like he’ll provide teams with a gifted inside/outside option who can be moved around the formation and counted on to create separation over the middle of the field. Probably a more impressive prospect overall than Tyler Johnson was.

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