Tennessee Titans could be taking close look at Minnesota receiver Rashod Bateman for draft. Here's why.

Ben Arthur
Nashville Tennessean

Could the Tennessee Titans be taking a close look at Minnesota wide receiver Rashod Bateman for the upcoming draft?

General manager Jon Robinson on Thursday was spotted at the Gophers’ Pro Day in Minneapolis. He was pictured talking with Packers GM Brian Gutekunst. 

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Bateman, a riser in the draft process who could come off the board in the late first round, has been a popular name linked to the Titans at No. 22.

Even with picking up Josh Reynolds in free agency, Tennessee needs a long-term option at WR2 and a pass catcher capable of manning the slot with Corey Davis (free agency) and Adam Humphries (cap casualty) gone. 

Bateman checks both boxes, and he was a productive college player.  

So Robinson has strong reasons to be taking a closer look. 

25. Packers - Rashod Bateman, WR, Minnesota

Bateman lined up outside and inside for Minnesota in his three-year college career. In the abbreviated 2020 college football season – which he initially opted out of because of COVID-19 concerns and opted back in late September before opting out again in late November to prepare for the NFL draft – he averaged 94.4 receiving yards per game (34 catches for 472 yards and two touchdowns in five games) en route to third-team All-Big Ten honors. 

As a sophomore, he caught 60 passes for 1,219 yards, the Minnesota record for a sophomore and the third-most in a single season in program history. Bateman was a first-team All-Big Ten selection that season as well as a third-team Associated Press All-America selection. 

At Minnesota’s Pro Day on Thursday, Bateman was measured at 6 feet and 190 pounds, with 9½-inch hands and a 76½-inch wingspan.

Although an official 40-yard dash time was not immediately clear, his “best” was clocked at 4.39 seconds, according to the NFL Network. His vertical was measured at 36 inches.

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Joining Bateman at Minnesota’s Pro Day was teammate Benjamin St. Juste, whom the Titans could explore as a later-round pick. He’s one of the tallest cornerbacks in the draft at 6-3. 

The need is there at cornerback, just like at receiver, with Adoree’ Jackson and Malcolm Butler released this offseason, and slot corner Desmond King signing elsewhere last month. 

Free-agent acquisitions Janoris Jenkins and Kevin Johnson are the newbies to Tennessee’s cornerback room for 2021, joining 2020 second-round pick Kristian Fulton, Chris Jackson, Breon Borders and Kareem Orr.

When is the NFL Draft?

The draft will air on NFL Network, ABC and ESPN  

  • Thursday, April 29, 7 p.m. CT
  • Friday, April 30, 6 p.m. CT
  • Saturday, May 1, 11 a.m. CT

NFL Draft order

  1.  Jacksonville Jaguars
  2. New York Jets
  3. San Francisco 49ers (from Houston via Miami)
  4. Atlanta Falcons
  5. Cincinnati Bengals
  6. Miami Dolphins (from Philadelphia)
  7. Detroit Lions
  8. Carolina Panthers
  9. Denver Broncos
  10. Dallas Cowboys
  11. New York Giants
  12. Philadelphia Eagles (from Miami)
  13. Los Angeles Chargers 
  14. Minnesota Vikings
  15. New England Patriots
  16. Arizona Cardinals
  17. Las Vegas Raiders
  18. Miami Dolphins
  19. Washington Football Team
  20. Chicago Bears
  21. Indianapolis Colts
  22. Tennessee Titans
  23. New York Jets (from Seattle)
  24. Pittsburgh Steelers 
  25. Jacksonville Jaguars (from L.A. Rams)
  26. Cleveland Browns
  27. Baltimore Ravens
  28. New Orleans Saints
  29. Green Bay Packers
  30. Buffalo Bills
  31. Kansas City Chiefs
  32. Tampa Bay Buccaneers

Ben Arthur covers the Tennessee Titans for The USA TODAY Network. Contact him at barthur@gannett.com and follow him on Twitter at @benyarthur.