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Green Bay Packers: NFL Draft Profile – WR Rashod Bateman

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Continuing our Green Bay Packers draft coverage at Game on Wisconsin, this week I will be putting productive wide receiver Rashod Bateman out of the University of Minnesota.  

Rashod Bateman – WR – Minnesota – 6’1″ – 209lbs

PROS

Hands/Ball Skills – Love what Bateman brings to the table here. For my money, this is where Bateman is going to excel best at the pro level. When watching his tape, specifically in 2019, Bateman offers a variety of eye popping catches away from his frame while being draped by a defender. Bateman does well over the middle to “pluck and run” as well as showing no signs of fear catching through contact. He consistently excels when meeting the ball at the high point. Finds success tracking the ball over his shoulder, as well. Bateman is an extremely impressive player in terms of his ball skills. 

Route Running – I really appreciate his abilities working routes on all three levels of the field. Something I, as long as the rest of the draft community are high on, is his ability to sell false breaks. His double moves at the next level will likely have an entire highlight video on YouTube five years from now. 

Release/Separation – Possessing one of the best release packages in the 2021 NFL Draft, Bateman is as impressive as a rookie will come off the line of scrimmage. He does well to find and manipulate space against soft coverage. Against physical press coverage, that ghost step comes back to bite defenders as he is able to maneuver his way around the corner with minimal contact and relative ease, Bateman is so smooth in this aspect. Bateman’s ability to stop on a dime will create instant separation in the NFL, and if he’s “covered” with his ball skills, he’s still open.

Run Blocking – One of the most under appreciated aspects of Bateman’s game, this guy throws down in the run game. He will do well at the next level blocking on wide runs to the boundaries, and he’s not afraid to move toward the box and crack a safety or linebacker right off the snap. His frame goes a long way in helping him here, but the mentality he plays with is easy to appreciate. 

CONS

YAC Ability – We’re really nitpicking here, but if Bateman was lacking in one area relative to what you’d like to see, it’s his ability to maneuver with the ball in his hands. While he is sufficient in his agility and explosiveness, his tape leads me to believe he lacks the long speed to really break one loose from 80 yards out on defensive backs. His physicality and competitive toughness goes a long way in moving the sticks. 

Versatility/Utilization – You’re not going to be motioning Bateman for “mismatches” along the line of scrimmage or sending him in jet motion, as that just isn’t where he is going to win in the passing game. In that same breath, that puts Bateman out of the return specialist conversation. These are not “knocks” per se, as much as they are explaining his skillset relative to what he will bring to the NFL. 

SUMMARY

One of the Wide Receivers I would most like to see paired with Davante Adams, Bateman projects as an outside/inside pass catcher who will see the field in every package your offense wants to run. Strong blocking in the run game will keep defenses honest. Capable of running every route you ask of him, defenses won’t be able to easily key in on what you want to do with him. I see Bateman as a true WR1 in any offense, and a potential perennial pro bowler with room to grow into an All-Pro. Bateman does so much to remind me of Allen Robinson.

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