This piece is part of the Riggo’s Rag Roundtable debate about the first round of the 2021 NFL Draft. For more Washington Football Team Round 1 options, click here.
A clear goal for the Washington Football Team this offseason has been to overhaul the wide receiver room. In free agency, they added a versatile weapon in Curtis Samuel and a true slot receiver with the later addition of Adam Humphries.
Some may think that this should take any wide receiver off the first-round board for Washington. However, in the modern NFL, it is essential to have two No. 1-type wide receivers. And even more so, receiver rooms must be deep to compensate for possible injuries and attrition.
It is also worth noting that the Z receiver for Washington is up in the air opposite Terry McLaurin. Cam Sims, Kelvin Harmon, and Antonio Gandy-Golden are all options, but nothing is set in stone.
Rashod Bateman helps answer both problems. He has the potential to be a No. 1 wide receiver in the NFL to pair with Terry McLaurin. That could give Washington three potential top-flight receivers if Samuel continues to improve.
Why the Washington Football Team should draft Rashod Bateman
So why, Rashod Bateman? This receiver class is one of the deepest classes ever with talent expected to be available on all three days of the draft. The simple answer is that Bateman is one of the best of the bunch. His name gets overlooked due to other elite talents like Jaylen Waddle, DeVonta Smith, Ja’Marr Chase, and even Kyle Pitts at tight end.
However, Bateman is no slouch himself. He is a smooth route runner and truly can run any route. He has positional flexibility as well with the ability to move to the slot on occasion, which is something this coaching staff values in their players.
Bateman is not a plodder either. He has good long speed to beat his defender on deep routes. He is quick and agile displayed in his ability to get in and out of his routes quickly. And he also has enough contact balance to create some yards after the catch.
At the catch point, Bateman uses his strong hands and his size (6-2, 209 pounds) to win contested catches. He is aggressive at the catch point with a clear “my ball” mentality when a pass gets thrown his way.
Bateman’s deficiencies are very fixable. During his 2020 season, he suffered at times from concentration drops and needs to get better at beating press corners. But both of these issues are coachable.
To recap, Bateman is a wide receiver with good size, has advanced skills as a route runner, is very strong at the catch point, and has good long speed to create separation deep. That is a foundation for a skillset that can grow into a No. 1 receiver in the NFL and one that would pair well with McLaurin and Samuel.
The Washington Football Team does have a volatile quarterback situation thanks to the Ryan Fitzpatrick experience. What is the best way to make them a bit more consistent? The answer is to give Ryan Fitzpatrick as many options as possible to be successful.
Washington took a step towards that with the additions of Samuel and Humphries. Drafting Bateman with the 19th pick can give the Washington Football Team one of the best receiving corps in the NFL.
Pairing that wide receiver room with Logan Thomas at tight end and Antonio Gibson and J.D. McKissic at RB as well as a gunslinger at quarterback will make the offense for the Washington Football Team dangerous.
If the plan for Washington is to go into 2021 with Ryan Fitzpatrick as QB1, giving him as many weapons as possible should be the No. 1 goal. Drafting Rashod Bateman at 19 does just that.
Click the links below to read about each Washington Football Team Round 1 option.