2021 NFL Draft: One player the Colts should already be targeting in the first round

Rashod Bateman, Packers, NFL Draft, Colts, Patriots
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The Indianapolis Colts are going to be an intriguing team to keep an eye on throughout the rest of the 2020 NFL season. After starting the season with a 4-2 record entering Week 8, many believe that the Colts could end up being a fairly serious contender in the AFC. However, the real work for them to become a Super Bowl contender will begin in the offseason with free agency and the 2021 NFL Draft.

Philip Rivers was signed to a big one-year, $25 million contract this past offseason. While he has been an upgrade from Jacoby Brissett, he likely is not going to be the quarterback for the Colts next season.

Even if he is, the Colts know that they need to add more weapons. T.Y. Hilton has not been as productive as the franchise has come to know and expect. They have also had quite a few injuries with names like Parris Campbell and Michael Pittman Jr. going down early in the season.

Looking ahead to the NFL Draft next offseason, the Colts should already have their eyes on one player in particular.

That player would be Minnesota Golden Gophers star wide receiver Rashod Bateman. At 6-foot-2 and 210 pounds, Bateman would be exactly the kind of offensive difference maker that the Colts need to take the next step.

During the 2019 college football season with the Golden Gophers, Bateman racked up 60 receptions for 1,219 yards and 11 touchdowns. He is a big body with good speed and athleticism. Bateman truly has star potential at the next level.

Pro Football Network mentioned CeeDee Lamb as a potential comparison for Bateman. That would be more than fine with the Colts. Lamb has looked impressive early on in his rookie season with the Dallas Cowboys.

If the Colts want their offense to take the next step, no matter who the starting quarterback is, they need more weapons. Rivers could return for another season in 2021, but giving him more weapons would make him more dangerous. Even if the Colts go a different route at quarterback, they need another big threat at wide receiver.

Hilton is also scheduled to hit free agency next offseason. The Colts could give him a new deal, but they may not want to pay the price to retain him with the numbers they are seeing this season.

No matter what direction the Colts choose to go, Rashod Bateman would fit in perfectly. It’s time for Indianapolis to focus on building up their offense. And they should already be watching Bateman as a first-round target.