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Players that Bear watching: Washington WR Rome Odunze

Players that Bear watching: Washington WR Rome Odunze originally appeared on NBC Sports Chicago

Rome Odunze is arguably one of the top three wideout prospects in the upcoming 2024 NFL Draft. An excellent target to all levels of the field, Odunze is a reliable receiver whose upside intrigues many scouts and league general managers.

Chicago traded for D.J. Moore last season, a true primary receiver who tallied his best statistical year during the 2023 NFL campaign. Odunze potentially offers the Bears an opportunity to add another viable weapon for an imbalanced offense.

Name

Rome Odunze (WR) / Washington (RJR) *Redshirt

Measurables

6’3” 215 lbs / 4.34  40-Time / 37.1” Vertical Jump / 10-1’ Broad-Jump

Accolades

2023: All-American First Team (AP, FWAA, PFF, CBS Sports, the Athletic); All-Pac-12 First Team; 2023 Biletnikoff Award Finalist; CSC Academic All-American First Team;

2022: All-American Third Team; All-Pac-12 First Team; All-Pac-12 Academic Honor Roll

Best Game

Ironically, Odunze’s best two games are almost a year apart to the day. During the 2022 campaign, on the 15th of October, Odunze and his Washington teammates defeated the Arizona Wildcats in a home game 49 to 39. He tallied nine receptions for 169 receiving yards (18.8 per catch) and two aerial scores. The following year on October 14th, his team beat rival Oregon in a close home game 36 to 33. Against the Ducks, Odunze caught the game winning touchdown with less than two minutes remaining, on an 18 yard pass from quarterback Michael Penix Jr. The All-American receiver’s stats for the game show he caught eight passes for 128 yards and two scores.

What They’re Saying About Him

“A lot of times you think about when you lose football games or you didn’t come through in the big moment. You remember those. I can’t remember Rome not coming through."

Kalen DeBoer, former Washington Huskies head coach told KOMO News

Skill Set

Odunze is an easy striding, smooth operating receiver whose reliability shows up often and especially in clutch moments. He consistently tracks the ball well over either shoulder and catches with confidence. Playing with total body control, Odunze will stretch and reach for passes at awkward and contested angles. In addition, his height and size creates natural body leverage against smaller defenders. An intelligent and aware receiver, Odunze knows how to uncover from tight coverage, or patiently sit in zoned areas for timely passes.

Why Chicago?

Although the Bears secured a primary wideout for beleaguered incumbent quarterback Justin Fields, by season’s end it was apparent the need for another boundary receiver was high. Odunze presents as a larger red zone target (6’3”) and his length, speed and jumping ability help make him a viable deep threat on any play. His last season at Washington, Odunze posted a 75 percent success rate on contested passes (3rd in nation), and a passer rating of 118.8 for quarterbacks when thrown to. A physical run blocker who fights for every yard after the catch, Odunze’s overall dependability would most likely make him a fan favorite if drafted by the Bears.