The final mock drafts and prospect rankings heading into the start of the NFL draft on Thursday show that Gophers wide receiver Rashod Bateman should be picked somewhere either toward the end of Thursday's first round or the first half of the second round on Friday.
The difference between those outcomes can mean prestige and more than a million dollars over the life of an initial contract.
But it ultimately won't define Bateman's fate in the NFL. That's the message he's getting from agent Blake Baratz, the founder of the Minneapolis-based Institute for Athletes — which represents Bateman, Vikings WR Adam Thielen and other NFL players.
Baratz shared some behind-the-scenes preparations for the draft on Wednesday's Daily Delivery podcast.
If you don't see the podcast player, click here to listen.
Here are a few of the key takeaways from that interview with Baratz:
On what goes into preparing someone like Bateman for the draft: "It's a long, arduous process. Everyone focuses on the draft because that's what everyone talks about, that's the drama and reality show that everyone lives in. But for us, especially with a rookie, it's a very individualized program to help them in a lot of different facets of their life. The combine and the physical workouts are one portion of it. The marketing endorsements are another portion of it. How they want their brand to look is another portion of it. Making sure they understand finance is a different portion. What they are going to do in the offseason program is a different portion of it. Getting the information from all 32 teams and then really understanding what they want to see and putting a plan in place to improve on those areas is a portion of it. We're trying to prepare him to get drafted as high as possible, but we're also trying to put a cohesive plan in place that allows him to become the best NFL player possible."
On the stress for a player like Bateman while waiting for their name to be called: "Will he be ready? Who knows. I've had my heart-to-hearts. I've said listen, you've worked as hard as you possibly can and regardless of what I tell you Thursday is going to be an extremely long day. Everyone is going to be there for you and looking at you. ... But it's easier for me to say that because I've been through it so many times. I'm just telling him: Wherever you get drafted Thursday or Friday it's one hell of an accomplishment in your life and under no circumstances should it turn into disappointment. ... The nerves and the excitement and the anxiety, it's just a lot for any person to handle. And when you're drafted, it's going to be a huge weight off your shoulders and then you're actually going to be able to relax and actually enjoy the moment and share it with your friends and family. That moment always comes, it's just the moments leading up to that that are really hard to deal with because you just don't know."
On keeping a draft slot in perspective: "No one cares today that Michael Thomas went in the second round or that D.K. Metcalf went in the second round or that Laquon Treadwell went in the first round. Like, it doesn't matter. It matters in that moment, but you're doing this to set yourself up for financial security and be happy in your life and to achieve your dream. ... It's a starting point, and you want to continue to get better so you have the opportunity to stay in the NFL."