*WR grades can and will change as more information comes in from Pro Day workouts, Wonderlic test results leaked, etc. We will update ratings as new info becomes available.

*WR-B stands for "Big-WR," a classification we use to separate the more physical, downfield/over-the-top, heavy-red-zone-threat-type WRs. Our WR-S/"Small-WRs" are profiled by our computer more as slot and/or possession-type WRs who are typically less physical and rely more on speed/agility to operate underneath the defense and/or use big speed to get open deep...they are not used as weapons in the red zone as much. 


*After I wrote the following report, a few days later, the EXOS Combine numbers started unofficially popping up on Twitter…and Bateman is a lead story from the Twittersphere, running a rumored 4.39 40-time – which no one saw that speed coming. I will address the rumor of this at the end of the first section with a marked ‘EXOS UPDATE (rumor)’ label.


Rashod Bateman had a really nice 2019 season (as a sophomore) – 60 catches, 1,219 yards, 11 TDs. He was named the Big Ten’s top WR, and a 1st-team all-conference player. A nice breakout performance.

With that, people started to push Bateman as a top 2020 CFB WR…and a future top five NFL Draft WR prospect, a potential 1st-round prospect.

Here’s what is strange to me about all this…

In 2019, his teammate Tyler Johnson bested Bateman’s output (86-1,318-13)…but Johnson doesn’t get nearly the same love/attention as Bateman. Johnson is a near identical twin WR, very similar sized and a similar play style and similar athletic capabilities (it’s hard to tell them apart on the field), as they played in the same offense, with the same QB, but Johnson drew tougher coverage (as the established star of the WR corps) – but no one cared about Johnson (a 5th-round NFL Draft pick in 2020)…while most everyone adores Bateman. I don’t get it.

Not saying Bateman isn’t good, but I don’t think anyone can explain to me why Bateman is such a superior prospect to Tyler Johnson. They can’t…because most WR (and all) draft rankings are purely emotional and ‘herd mentality’/echo chamber.

Not only was Tyler Johnson better in output in 2019 head-to-head, but Johnson’s 2018 season was better than Bateman’s 2019 campaign – and yet Johnson didn’t get the same accolades/draft love. I think they’re both really good/quality NFL WR prospects, with Johnson debatably maybe a nudge better.

I’m going to keep discussing Bateman in terms of Johnson – because it helps establish the true value. What do you think about Johnson today? Don’t care? Think he’s better than given credit/a missed NFL opportunity? Whatever you think…Johnson is a #4-5 WR for the Tampa Bay Bucs, and you probably don’t think about him at all for the NFL or Dynasty/Fantasy going into 2021.

If I’m consistently beating this drum of comparing Bateman to Johnson…will this ‘malaise’ be Bateman’s fate come draft time as well?

However, Bateman has way more draft momentum to start their respective draft seasons than Johnson did, but I do believe Bateman will start to fall from his current top 25-35 overall prospect status in the mainstream – especially once some of the lower names starting flashing ‘shock’ Pro Day times and sizes. There’s just not as much to get excited about here with Bateman…in a very emotionally-driven, emotionally-charged scouting process a guy who didn’t play for a sexy school who has no standout athletic/WR features besides ‘really professional’ is likely not going to get fans or NFL people super-excited.

The thing is… Bateman IS a really solid, professional WR. He reminds me of a lesser Justin Jefferson – 6’0”/205+, good hands, quick feet, sharp routes, quality person, hard worker…BUT, I just described Tyler Johnson as well…and, again, I proclaim -- no one cares.

The toughest opponent Minnesota/Johnson and Bateman faced in their college careers was their 2019 season bowl game vs. Auburn…who had a heavy NFL Draft prospect defensive backfield to throw at a very good Minnesota team. In that game, Bateman had 3 catches for 49 yards and had a hard time getting open. Johnson caught 12 passes for 204 yards and 2 TDs, was the game MVP, with everyone trying to stop him…and Tyler parlayed that into a 5th-round draft pick a few months later.

So, how good…how valuable is Rashod Bateman? He is likely to be drafted 100+ spots better than Tyler Johnson was in 2020. I’m not sure how the NFL determines the things they determine…

Everything I could say about Tyler Johnson, I can say about Bateman – quality hands, solid receiver…will be as good as the landing spot and offense he is thrown in with. Tyler Johnson was buried in Tampa (and you may have seen how good he was when forced to start midseason for a game…like, really good), so Johnson seems an insignificant draft pick today. What if Bateman is drafted by Tampa as well…or the Jets…or the Bears? No one will care about Bateman soon after either. BUT what if he is drafted by the Saints after (if) they trade Michael Thomas and is pushed into that type of role (just reaching for best-case examples)? What if Justin Jefferson had been drafted by the Jets or the Jags or the Raiders? We wouldn’t even really care about Jefferson today.

I think that’s Bateman’s, and many other rookie WR’s, fate ahead in the NFL year one – they are all good-to-great, so polished and ready…but the situation they fall into determines how we emotionally feel about them.

Bateman is a solid WR…he’s not elite, but he’s better than most. He has the quick feet that many of the really good college-to-pro young WRs have. He runs sharp routes. He has good hands. He’s probably a 4.5 +/- runner. He’s a quality young man, a non-diva with a clean background, and beloved by teammates and coaches. He’s a quality addition to any NFL team. He could have a great rookie year in the right landing spot…or he could be buried for the next 2-3 seasons. Most rookie WRs have the same issue – so many good WRs flooding the league -- how can they all get enough targets to matter? Bateman is not a big end zone threat (at 6’0”+/200+), nor is he a speed burner. He’s just a quality hand.

Side note medical item: Bateman battles with asthma. It’s not debilitating, but it was the reason he initially opted-out of the 2020 season…before returning to play when he felt it was safe for him to do so. He actually got COVID very early on and was sick for a few weeks – and he didn’t know he had it/that it was the COVID he had and not the flu (he tested for COVID antibodies later, and realized he’d had it previously). The asthma made the COVID experience worse, and scary for him. FYI.

How will an average-sized, average athlete, good character WR with asthma on his medical be seen in the NFL Draft? I’m shocked that it is so high so early, but then again…shouldn’t be shocked by anything in the NFL Draft anymore.  


*EXOS UPDATE* (rumor): If the Bateman rumors are true, if he did run a 4.39 40-time…then it changes the Bateman v. Justin Jefferson narrative, makes them more similar rather than JJ with a bigger ‘lead’ (scouting-wise, prospect-wise).

My early feel for the EXOS Combine rumored data is – this seems like a very fishy event, an inflated hype event for EXOS’s own clients. We’re living in an era where cheating is now the norm in everything, so football Combine numbers, with a lot of money on the line, is not immune. Local Pro Days for a college’s own players have been doing it for a while.

I will update my grades, if needed, when we get all the EXOS data and we’ll see if Bateman runs at his Minnesota Pro Day or hides behind the possible fictional EXOS times. 


Rashod Bateman, Through the Lens of Our WR Scouting Algorithm:

36-472-2 in five games played in 2020 season. In a 13-game season, extrapolated: 94 rec., 1,227 rec. yards, 5 TDs. Really good, but not any better than Tyler Johnson’s best seasons. And Bateman didn’t face any real powerhouses in 2020’s limited season. 

Bateman against his toughest opponents (2019-2020): Penn State, Iowa (2x), Auburn…

6.0 rec., 115.5 yards, 0.5 TDs per game…solid/nice, great tally vs. Penn State and shut down by Auburn. 

Bateman’s career output is solid, good. No real red flags…just a quality receiver QBs can depend on. 

Pro Day Estimates:

6’0”+/205+, 9.5” hands

4.5+ 40 time, sub-7.0 three-cone.

*EXOS UPDATE (rumor): 4.39 40-time (which I find quite hard to believe). 

The Historical WR Prospects to Whom Rashod Bateman Most Compares Within Our System:

It has to be Tyler Johnson because they are so identical from the same program with similar-ish numbers/output. Tyler Boyd could also be a great comp…Boyd was a ghost for two years then suddenly, bam, he’s a reliable, top slot WR. It could happen that way for Bateman (and Tyler Johnson). But Bateman may get a better immediate push than Boyd or Johnson, we’ll see. 

Why is Bateman rated lower (for us) than Tyler Johnson? Just based on early projections for Bateman’s Combine/Pro Day times, and we see Johnson as a better version of Bateman right now – but if Bateman surprises at his Pro Day, he might jump Tyler…he might get to 8.0+ grades, for what it is worth.


WR Score

Draft Yr







Power Strngth Metric

Speed Agility Metric

Hands' Metric
























































*A score of 7.0+ is where we start to take a Big-WR prospect more seriously. A score of 8.50+ is where we see a stronger correlation of a Big-WR going on to become NFL good/great/elite. A score of 10.00+ is more rarefied air in our system and indicates a greater probability of becoming an elite NFL Big-WR.

All of the WR ratings are based on a 0–10 scale, but a player can score negative, or above a 10.0 in certain instances.

Overall WR score = A combination of several on-field performance measures, including refinement for strength of opponents faced, mixed with all the physical measurement metrics, and rated historically in our database.

“Power-Strength” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding physical size profiling, bench press strength, etc.  High scorers here project to be more physical, better blockers, and less injury-prone.

“Speed-Agility” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding speed, agility, physical size, mixed with some on-field performance metrics. High scorers here project to have a better YAC and show characteristics to be used as deep threats/to create separation.

“Hands” = A combination of unique metrics surrounding on-field performance in college, considering the strength of opponents played. Furthermore, this data considers some physical profiling for hand size, etc. High scorers here have a better track record of college statistical performance. Everything combining to project catch-abilities for the next level.

2021 NFL Draft Outlook:

As of Jan.-Feb. 2021, Bateman is a late 1st-round projection for most draft websites/rankers. I don’t think it will hold up…I think he’ll fall into the 2nd-round. Bateman is a top 10 type of WR prospect, maybe top 5…but not the kind of WR you spend a ton od draft capital on in an oversupplied market. There are several Justin Jefferson’s in every draft now…you just gotta find them.

If I were an NFL GM, I have interest in Bateman as a nice add to my roster but I’m not going out of my way to jump others to draft him. If I were an NFL GM, I would’ve snagged Tyler Johnson in the 4th+ round last year and wouldn’t need to waste a 2nd-round pick on the similar Bateman. 

NFL Outlook:   

We’ve beaten this horse to death – if he’s Tyler Johnson, then the career outlook is similar…

Land poorly, like Tyler (for now), and he’ll be a sparsely used #4-5 WR getting his feet wet…and then he’ll be semi-forgotten a year from now. 

Land well, he’s starting by Weeks 1-2-3 and has a really productive rookie year, and everyone coos about the great pick their GM made.