The Titans have an opportunity with the No. 22 pick to fill the void left by wide receiver Corey Davis, who signed with the New York Jets during free agency. That’s ultimately what Gang Green Nation decided to do in our writers’ mock draft, selecting Rashod Bateman out of Minnesota.
From Music City Miracles’ Justin Melo:
Bateman would slot in nicely opposite A.J. Brown as a direct replacement for Corey Davis, who departed for the New York Jets in free agency. Bateman would be a natural fit in a Titans offense that puts a premium on yards after the catch. Quarterback Ryan Tannehill has been incredibly productive while taking advantage of Tennessee’s well designed play-action passing game. Bateman has the skill set to thrive in that area of the game.
There may not be a receiver in this draft who’s more difficult to tackle after the catch than Bateman is. He has great vision with the ball in his hands. He is tough and physical in the open field.
Bateman is an excellent route runner. He has a diverse release package and gets in and out of his breaks smoothly and efficiently. Bateman uses a variety of subtle movements and head fakes to set defensive backs up before revealing his true plan of attack. His natural feel for coverages allows him to find space while working to every area of the field effectively.
Bateman’s numbers from a truncated Big Ten season in 2020 (472 yards, two touchdowns) don’t necessarily look gaudy, but it’s impossible to gauge how impressive he might have been over the course of a full season. His track record in his freshman and sophomore seasons speaks for itself. Bateman put up 702 yards and six touchdowns as a freshman in 2018 despite being the No. 2 option for Minnesota behind Tyler Johnson. In 2019, with Johnson still a factor, Bateman hauled in 60 catches for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns.
Bateman also doesn’t have many weaknesses. One knock on him is that he doesn’t have elite speed — but he ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at his pro day, so that doesn’t seem like a pressing concern. He only played in five games in 2020, so most of his college success came with Johnson on the field drawing attention from defenses. Expecting him to hit the ground running as a WR1 may be too big of an ask. He also didn’t show much as a run blocker, but it’s not unusual for rookies to have to develop that skill at the next level.
The Titans need a player like Bateman, and if the board shakes out similarly during the NFL Draft, it won’t be a shock to see him land there.