Chicago Bears rookie analysis: WR Rome Odunze

The Chicago Bears selected Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze with the ninth overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft. Here’s a quick rundown on Odunze:

Height: 6-foot-3
Weight: 212 pounds
Age: 21
From: Las Vegas, NV

Breakdown: Odunze’s physicality and ability to win contested catches make him an ideal target in the red zone and on third downs. His strong hands and body allow him to make difficult catches in traffic, providing a reliable option for the quarterback when the play breaks down. Odunze’s size also makes him an effective blocker in the running game, which is crucial in Waldron’s scheme, which relies heavily on the outside run. — Nate Atkins

Dane Brugler’s scouting report: “A three-year starter at Washington, Odunze primarily lined up outside in former offensive coordinator Ryan Grubb’s spread scheme (75 percent wide, 25 percent slot over his career). His production improved each season, including an All -America 2023 campaign with an FBS-best 1,640 receiving yards and an elite first down/touchdown rate (80.4 percent). Odunze is field fast with fluid route running and above-average tracking/adjustment skills to secure catches in high-trafficked areas or create explosive plays downfield (32 catches of 20-plus yards in 2023, second most in the FBS). His body control at the catch point has always been a strength, but he took major strides in 2023 with his ability to play through contact and use focused concentration to win 50 -50 balls. Overall, Odunze is an above average height/weight/speed athlete with the pass-catching instincts and competitive focus to be a playmaking NFL receiver. He projects as a true X receiver and has the skill level to elevate his quarterback’s play (stylistically similar to Drake London).”

Lance Zierlein’s scouting report: “A team captain with good size and elite ball skills, Odunze consistently dominated his competition. While most receivers look to open separation windows with speed or route running, Odunze seems to relish jump balls and contested catches. He shines in all aspects of ball skills, including positioning, body control, hand strength, timing and mid-air adjustments. He has a tendency to cruise through routes rather than working with attention to detail and pacing. He was a decorated high school sprinter, so speed should not be an issue in the pros. He’s a high-volume target on the next level that play-callers can utilize to mismatch finesse cornerbacks. Elite ball skills are often the secret sauce for top NFL receivers, so it should not surprise if Odunze is a Day 1 starter who becomes a top-flight WR1.”

They said it: “Man, I don’t know where to start with that guy. First of all, a human being, what a great guy. Work ethic, just blue collar in the way he goes about things. But as a receiver, he can line [up] anywhere: inside, outside. You love his ability to finish in contested situations. Plays strong, plays big, run-after-catch is very good. He’s a punt returner as well. I mean, the kid’s just put time in and he got better and better every single year and he’s a winner. He can impact the game at any moment. If you’re at quarterback, and you’re in doubt, you want to just go give a guy an opportunity to go finish, he’s your guy. He’s done that consistently.” GM Ryan Poles

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Story originally appeared on Bears Wire