Rashod Bateman opts out again, looks ahead to the 2021 NFL Draft

2021 NFL Draft prospect Rashod Bateman #0 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers (Photo by Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports)
2021 NFL Draft prospect Rashod Bateman #0 of the Minnesota Golden Gophers (Photo by Jesse Johnson-USA TODAY Sports) /

Rashod Bateman will not finish the 2020 season and will now look ahead to the 2021 NFL Draft.

At one point, it did not look like we would see Rashod Bateman at all this season. Luckily, we were able to see one of the premier wide receivers in the 2021 NFL Draft class for at least a few games. COVID concerns originally caused Bateman to announce that he would sit out the 2020 season to prepare for the 2021 NFL Draft. When the Big Ten decided to play a fall football season, Bateman came back and ended up playing five games for Minnesota.

However, a recent COVID outbreak going around the team has caused a cancellation of the Minnesota vs. Wisconsin game this weekend. With this news, Bateman announced on Twitter that his season is over and he will “begin to focus on the next stage of (his) career.”

The 2021 NFL Draft class is loaded with talent at the wide receiver position and Rashod Bateman will undoubtedly stand near the top of the class. Bateman is a physical and athletic receiver prospect who shows impressive route running ability and is an absolute weapon with the ball in his hands.

Bateman does a great job of beating man coverage and knows how to find soft spots against zone. Once the ball is in his hands, Bateman shows impressive natural elusiveness and great contact balance for a wide receiver. His combination of quickness and power with the ball in his hands is top-notch and makes him a ridiculously difficult player to bring down in space.

Rashod Bateman is also a high-level weapon in contested-catch situations. He is able to use his route-running ability to get his way open most of the time, but Bateman can work through traffic and make plays as well. He shows extremely strong hands and controls his body in the air at a high level.

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Simply put, Bateman is a top-tier playmaker who undoubtedly has massive upside at the next level. We did not get to see as much out of him this season as we wanted, but he showed more than enough to prove himself as a first-round 2021 NFL Draft prospect.