Rashod Bateman was an excellent wide receiver for the Minnesota Golden Gophers. In 31 career games, he produced 147 catches for 2,395 yards and 19 touchdowns. In his last full season, he caught 60 passes for 1,219 yards and 11 scores.
He originally opted out of the 2020 season, but decided against it once the Big Ten decided to play football in the fall. The results weren’t great (36 receptions, 472 yards, two touchdowns), but Minnesota was disappointing all the way around.
In other words, Bateman is still viewed as one of the top receivers available in the 2021 NFL Draft. And if the news about his 40 times on Saturday is true, he likely solidified his status as a first-round pick come April.
Bateman has been training with EXOS, which — according to ESPN — is simulating a two-day pro day with a combine-like setting. The training is apparently going well, as Bateman revealed his 40 times via Twitter.
That time came back at 4.37 hand time with a 4.39 laser time.
Per Source: Bateman ran a 4.37 hand time and a 4.39 laser at the Exos combine.
*Rashod Bateman is not slow 😎
— Rashod Bateman (@R_bateman2) February 27, 2021
It’s an impressive time for Bateman.
Listed at 6-foot-2, 210 pounds, he wasn’t really considered a true burner. If you would’ve asked me his 40 time prior to Saturday, I wouldn’t guessed somewhere in the 4.45-plus range. I also wouldn’t have been shocked if you said 4.5 or a little higher.
Well, he certainly surprised me.
Granted, I’m not sure it affects his draft stock too much based on where I have him projected. In my latest mock, I had him as the fourth receiver drafted behind Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith and Ja’Marr Chase. I had him slated to go No. 19 to the Washington Football Team.
Could he go higher? Sure, but I’m not convinced it’ll be because of his reported 40 time on Saturday. With the NFL Combine being mostly virtual, it will be difficult for teams to know his true speed. He’s fast in pads, but he’s not sub-4.4 fast.
He’ll still make a team happy towards the back half of the first round, though.
Follow Clint Lamb on Twitter @ClintRLamb.