NFL teams meeting with individual players are a significant part of the draft process. These meetings typically happen at the NFL Scouting Combine, pro days, the Senior Bowl, the East-West Shrine Bowl or a private workout.
For fans following the process, these meetings are sort of like poker tells for the draft, as they indicate what positions a team could be focusing on. Do teams draft players they haven’t met with? Yes, they do. It happens all the time (like Lamar Jackson), but they have often spoken to other players at that position.
Who have the Baltimore Ravens met with so far? Well, WalterFootball.com usually has a good list, but with the state of the world as it is, it has become a tad tougher to find those tea leaves.
So far, teams have had access to players at the Senior Bowl and through Zoom meetings. Therefore, I am going to profile players you should know and that the Ravens could select in the 2021 NFL Draft. First up is Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman. Let’s get to know him better.
Tale of the Tape:
Weight: 210 pounds
Strengths: EVERYTHING! If you’ve followed me long enough, you know I have a wide receiver type — between 6-foot and 6-foot-2, somewhere in the 200- to 220-pound weight range and an above-average route runner. Check, check and check for Bateman. He gets open, he catches everything, he tracks the ball well, and makes grabs in traffic. He is the most well-rounded receiver in the 2021 draft.
Areas For Improvement: This is a tricky one for me, because I do not see any. I started watching Bateman when I was looking at fellow Gophers wide receiver Tyler Johnson for the 2020 draft. Bateman was always open! Either he lost defenders with his quickness/technique at the line of scrimmage or he ran by them down the field. Some will knock his “long” speed, but he is plenty fast. I’d expect him to run in the 4.48 to 4.50 range when they test those things this draft season.
Other Notes: Bateman caught 60 passes for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns as a sophomore in 2019, earning first-team All-Big Ten and third-team All-America honors. In five games during the 2020 “season,” Bateman had 36 grabs for 472 yards with a pair of touchdowns.
NFL Player Comparison: A.J. Brown, Tennessee Titans
Draft Projection: Bateman should be a first-round selection but could slip into the second round. He’s for sure a top-50 player in this draft and my No. 1 wide receiver.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of the University of Minnesota