2021 NFL Draft: Minnesota WR Rashod Bateman has some big news

2021 NFL Draft prospect Rashod Bateman

2021 NFL Draft prospect Rashod Bateman. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

2021 NFL Draft star Rashod Bateman has some big news

It is beginning to feel like normalcy is returning. There is football to talk about and just about every conference is either underway or getting close. As The Big Ten is set to return, Minnesota star wide receiver Rashod Bateman has been trying to get his waiver to return to the Golden Gophers. Today, he dropped some big news after declaring for the 2021 NFL Draft at the end of Summer.

That is correct, Bateman is back in Minnesota and ready to roll as the Golden Gophers are set to open their season at the end of October. The likely first round pick’s return was released via the official Minnesota Football took Twitter account, but that was not the only news as Bateman has also undergone a number change.

As he gets set for the debut of his Junior season, Bateman will now wear the number zero, newly approved by the NCAA as an official and eligible number. The explanation? P.J. Fleck writes in the announcement:

“I am also proud of Rashod for utilizing his platform to encourage social change. This season he will be wearing No. 0, which represents that there is zero tolerance for racism in our culture and is a call to action to end racism in our society.”

https://twitter.com/GopherFootball/status/1311348231197077508?s=20

Where does his 2021 NFL Draft stock stand?

At this point in the offseason, Bateman has been regarded as a top wide receiver prospect and frequent first round pick in mock drafts. While he does not possess other-worldly athletic ability, Bateman is a refined technician who knows how to win off the line of scrimmage and knows how to work back over the top of defensive backs.

He possesses gifted and fluid footwork, which allows for clean releases and quick breaks off of his routes. To end each rep, Bateman shows the ability to win at the catchpoint and the ability to make strong catches in tight windows. Look for Bateman to hear his name called in the top-32 picks in the 2021 NFL Draft.

What to expect from Rashod Bateman in 2020

Bateman is coming off of a monster season in 2019 where he racked up over 1,200 yards and 11 touchdowns on 60 catches for the Golden Gophers. While in a shortened season he may not reach those numbers, but his production per catch and his targets per game will likely see a rise after the graduation of now Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ wide receiver Tyler Johnson.

While he was the primary target a year ago, even with Johnson on the roster, Bateman becomes the true WR1 in Minnesota this year. Look for quarterback Tanner Morgan to look his way early and often as Minnesota looks to take home the Big Ten West title.