Rashod Bateman believes he measures up with the top wide receivers in the draft, even if his Pro Day measurements caught some scouts by surprise.
Bateman impressed people with his 4.39 speed in the 40-yard dash, but he measured 6-foot, 190 pounds, rather than 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, which was his listed size at Minnesota. That has caused some to wonder if Bateman will still be a first-round pick, a selection who the Ravens will consider with the 27th-overall pick. Bateman said any concern about his size is overblown, and he sounds like a player who will enter the league with something to prove.
"I ran fast, everybody doubted that," Bateman said via the Minneapolis Star-Tribune. "Now everybody's questioning my weight. The thing is, I've never played over 200 (pounds) before, and I never have been close, so I'm not worried about that."
Bateman and Terrace Marshall Jr. of LSU are the two wide receivers most often linked to Baltimore in mock drafts, and those comparisons are likely to follow them into the NFL. Some have questioned whether either should be picked at No. 27, but NFL Network's Bucky Brooks said Bateman is first-round worthy and believes he's a better fit for the Ravens than Marshall.
"I don't know that you can go wrong with either guy, but I'm thinking about Baltimore and what is needed, I would probably lean toward Bateman because Bateman is more of your classic, traditional, No. 1 receiver that you would see year after year," Brooks said on “The Lounge” podcast.
"I think the worthiness comes from how they play and what happens once you get them into the building. I think the main thing that you have to do if you're Baltimore, you have to look at your team and figure out what do you need on the perimeter. I would say you need more size on the outside. And not just size like a big hulking playmaker, but like a big physical player that can really occupy their No. 1 position. They brought Dez Bryant in last year for a reason. There's something that they know they're lacking. I would think whoever comes in as the primary No. 1 receiver has to be that physical tough guy that kind of fits in with the rest of the squad."
Measurements: 6-foot, 190 pounds
2020 stats: 5 games, 36 catches, 472 yards, 2 touchdowns
2019 stats: 13 games, 60 catches, 1,219 yards, 11 touchdowns
Why he makes sense: Bateman makes tough catches in traffic, runs well after the catch, and would give Lamar Jackson another target to help the offense diversify the passing game. Even after adding Sammy Watkins in free agency, the Ravens may feel that adding Bateman to what they already have would take their offense to another level.
Scouting Report: "Dominant, game-controlling receiver who made an impact for Minnesota ever since stepping onto the field as a freshman. Smooth and fluid, sells routes, and quickly gets into breaks. Comes across the middle of the field, makes the difficult catch in a crowd, and consistently extends to grab the ball away from his frame. Must do a better job finishing blocks. Comes off a somewhat disappointing 2020 season. Possesses terrific short-area quickness, keeps his focus and concentration, and stays with the action. Works hard even if the play is away from him." – Tony Pauline, Pro Football Network
Backstory: Bateman had offers to attend schools with more recent football success, but he stuck to his commitment to Minnesota because it was the first Power 5 program to offer him a scholarship. Living in Minnesota has given Bateman a first-hand look at the country's recent social unrest. After the murder of George Floyd, Bateman changed his jersey number from 13 to 0, to signify zero tolerance for social injustice.