Draft Digest: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

All-time Gophers great and big-play receiver produced wherever he lined up

Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman

Packers.com consulted more than a dozen mock drafts from reputable national outlets and compiled a list of players most frequently mocked as draft selections in the bottom third of the first round (picks 20-32).

Between now and draft day, when the Packers are slated to select at No. 29 overall, those players will be profiled with thumbnail sketches in a new series entitled "Draft Digest."

Today's player is …

Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Height/Weight: 6-0, 190

Key stats: In 31 games over three seasons, caught 147 passes for 2,395 yards and 19 TDs, topping 100 yards in 10 different games. Those statistical totals rank sixth, sixth, fifth and fourth, respectively, in school history.

College honors: In 2019, was named first-team All-Big Ten, third-team All-America by the Associated Press, the Richter-Howard award winner as the Big Ten's best receiver, and a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the top receiver in the country.

Background: A Georgia native, Bateman didn't have much interest from Power 5 schools before getting his first scholarship offer from Minnesota. Despite other big programs closer to home recruiting him later, he stuck with his commitment to the Gophers and became one of the school's all-time best receivers. Emerged as a mainstay as a true freshman in 2018, setting school freshman records with 51 catches for 704 yards. His best season came as a sophomore, when he averaged just over 20 yards per catch (60 receptions, 1,219 yards, 11 TDs) and piled up the accolades. Bateman played in just five games in 2020 before opting out and finished his career having caught a pass in every game he played. He's viewed as an all-around threat, able to produce on the boundary or from the slot, and while he's not considered a speedster, he still clocked a 4.39 in the 40 at Minnesota's pro day (along with a 36-inch vertical and 10-3 broad jump). The combination of athleticism and a physical style to his game has him highly thought of in an impressive draft class of receivers. He's attempting to become the first Gophers player to be drafted in the first round since running back Laurence Maroney in 2006.

Potential fit with Packers: The Packers didn't draft a receiver from last year's highly touted class when everyone expected they would. This year's group is perhaps just as deep and talented, and now Green Bay faces future uncertainty with (at this point) none of its top five receivers under contract beyond 2021, though it's almost certain All-Pro Davante Adams won't be allowed to hit the free-agent market after this season. What Matt LaFleur's offense looks like down the road will depend in part on how the Packers start building for the future at receiver, and a talent like Bateman checks a lot of boxes in terms of size, athletic traits, production and versatility. It's intriguing to think about what Bateman already brings to the table and what he could learn working alongside Adams in the early stages of his pro career.

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