Top Big Ten draft prospects for Bengals fans to keep an eye on
Bengals draft watch: Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota
As mentioned in a previous slide, the Bengals’ currently-strong wide receiver group is on its way to becoming a position of need in the 2021 offseason. While Rondale Moore may be the top wide receiver prospect in the Big Ten, Rashod Bateman from Minnesota is not far behind and is more likely to be available in the second round.
According to Pro Football Focus, Bateman has the most catches on throws 10+ yards downfield among returning wide receivers with 46. The Minnesota receiver’s ability to make receptions for big gains would be a much-needed addition to a Bengals’ offense that has struggled to connect on the deep ball.
In 2019, Bateman had 60 receptions for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns with an average of 20.3 yards per reception. While he doesn’t necessarily have the speed of a prospect like Moore, his average yards per catch show that he can bring big-play ability to an NFL offense.
A receiving trio of Bateman, Tyler Boyd, and Tee Higgins would set rookie quarterback Joe Burrow up for the entirety of his rookie contract. One bonus in Bateman’s favor is that the Bengals could likely nab him on day two of the draft and pick up an offensive lineman in the first round, as opposed to Moore who would likely necessitate a day one selection.
If the Bengals want to add a receiver to their young core without using a first-round selection, Bateman could be just the receiver to watch for.