Report: 'A Couple' of NFL Insiders View Rashod Bateman as Best WR in 2021 Draft

Rob Goldberg@@TheRobGoldbergFeatured Columnist IVApril 8, 2021

MINNEAPOLIS, MINNESOTA - OCTOBER 24: Rashod Bateman #0 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers carries the ball after catching a pass against the Michigan Wolverines in the fourth quarter of the game at TCF Bank Stadium on October 24, 2020 in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The Wolverines defeated the Gophers 49-24. (Photo by David Berding/Getty Images)
David Berding/Getty Images

Former Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman has shot up draft boards and could hear his name early in the 2021 NFL draft.

According to Michael Giardi of NFL Network, some see him as the best player in the class at his position:

Michael Giardi @MikeGiardi

Rashod Bateman was getting a lot of buzz from scouts/execs I spoke with over the last couple weeks & that was before he tested as well as he did at his pro day (4.41 40). A couple believe he's the best WR in this draft, better than Chase, Smith or Waddle. Bold.

Bleacher Report's Scouting Department lists Bateman as the No. 2 receiver and ninth-best overall player in 2021, trailing DeVonta Smith but ahead of top prospect Ja'Marr Chase. B/R's Nate Tice called him the most pro-ready receiver in the class.

Smith and Chase have gained more attention thanks to their impressive stats for national championship teams over the past two years, but Bateman also racked up big-time numbers in his college career.

The wideout was at his best in 2019, totaling 60 catches for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns. His 20.3 yards per catch ranked eighth in the country.

In 2020, Bateman totaled 472 receiving yards on 36 catches in just five games before opting out for the rest of the year.

Beyond his production on the field, the 6'2" player has impressed with his skill set and the explosiveness he showed at his pro day:

Minnesota on BTN @MinnesotaOnBTN

Blink and you'll miss him. 👀<br><br>Rashod Bateman (@R_bateman2) continues to rise up draft boards, recording a scorching 4.39 40-yard dash at the @GopherFootball Pro Day. @NFLDraft@NFL // @thecheckdown pic.twitter.com/SW9g9FKImX

It could be enough to make him a first-round pick on April 29 and potentially before the bigger names in the class.


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