Named the Big Ten's Richter-Howard Receiver of the Year as a true sophomore in 2019, when he caught 60 passes for 1,219 yards and 11 scores, demonstrating a high degree of explosiveness after the catch. After initially opting out of the 2020 season, Bateman returned with the Gophers, although his gaudy totals slipped to "just" 36 catches for 472 yards and two scores in five games. He left school early with 147 receptions, sixth in school history.
Strengths: With the feet of a ballerina and the route-savvy of a 10-year NFL veteran, Bateman can lose his own shadow. His initial quickness and almost instant-acceleration leave cornerbacks on their heels and Bateman plays it well, using subtle gait shifts and shoulder dips to create throwing angles. He explodes out of his breaks, gaining clearance often even when defenders anticipate the route. Strong hands to pluck the ball outside of his frame, quickly pulling it down and securing it with circus-catches routine. High-points the ball like he's going for the alley-oop.
Weaknesses: Has no known injury concerns in his career but possesses a relatively unimpressive frame with just average muscle development for an NFL receiver. The jet fuel that powers his instant acceleration does run out, and Bateman lacks elite long speed, often maintaining a slight edge on defenders after the catch but failing to truly break away from them without help.
Pro comparison: Michael Thomas, Saints -- Bateman possesses a Pro Bowl-caliber combination of initial quickness, agility and fearlessness with the ball in flight, which should make him an NFL star.