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Washington WR Rome Odunze ‘ideal’ pick for Jets at 10th overall

With the Jets having addressed their starting offensive line through free agency, Joe Douglas has given himself some added flexibility to use the 10th overall pick on another position, specifically wide receiver.

Depending on how the board falls through the first nine picks, Ben Solak of The Ringer picked Washington wide receiver Rome Odunze as the ‘ideal’ prospect for the Jets at 10th overall.

“Rome Odunze out of Washington,” said Solak when asked who his ideal prospect for the Jets would be. “I like Rome better than (Malik) Nabers. I expect Nabers to go first, but Rome’s the guy I prefer. They’re both unbelievable players. It’s a matter of preference and taste.

“So if Rome is the guy who goes third among receivers, after Marvin Harrison Jr., after Malik Nabers, I think his floor is 10, and if he makes it down there, that’s an excellent pick.”

In what is a loaded wide receiver class, depending on what big board you are looking at, Odunze is either the second or third-ranked overall receiver, behind Ohio State’s Marvin Harrison and competing with LSU’s Malik Nabers for that second ranking.

Measuring in at nearly 6-3 and weighing 212 pounds, Odunze put together a very impressive NFL Combine, posting a near-perfect Relative Athletic Score of 9.92, which included a 4.45-second 40-yard dash, along with elite vertical and shuttle numbers.

Odunze can line up both inside and out, having played about 75 percent of his career snaps from the boundary. Over the last two seasons, he has been targeted 250 times, catching 67 percent of those passes at 16.5 yards per catch with 20 touchdowns.

After eclipsing 1,100 receiving yards in 2022, Odunze posted a whopping 1,639 yards in 2023. He also averaged almost 18 yards per catch and scored 13 times. Odunze was PFF’s eighth-highest-graded wide receiver.

Finding a legitimate running mate for Garrett Wilson was always priority No. 2 on Douglas’ offseason to-do list after reshaping the offensive line. The Jets’ second leading receiver in 2023 was Allen Lazard with just 311 receiving yards.

Naturally, having Aaron Rodgers back should bolster the overall offensive production for the Jets, but having a second receiver to lean on and who can compliment Wilson, will help take some of the attention off of Wilson. It will also force the defense to defend the entire field, creating more spacing for the Jets’ pass-catchers to operate in and opportunities for Rodgers to exploit.

“You look at the elite teams,” said Solak, “the teams that make deep postseason runs nowadays; you’ve got to have two pass-catching weapons that are headaches. You’ve got to have a Tee Higgins to a Ja’Marr Chase. A Brandon Aiyuk to a Deebo Samuel. Davante Smith to an AJ Brown. You’ve got to have two, and right now, the Jets very clearly have one in Garrett (Wilson), an excellent young player, but adding that second guy is important.

“You can do it through free agency, add an established player ready for Rodgers, or you can still do it through the draft with youth because these rookie receivers are walking in and producing like you wouldn’t believe these days. Rome Odunze would be a home run selection at 10.”

There are still a few free agent options available for the Jets to upgrade the receiver position, including Tyler Boyd and Mike Williams, who will be visiting the team on Monday. Similarly to the offensive line, signing a player like Boyd shouldn’t stop the Jets from selecting a receiver in the top 100 of the draft, but it would give them that coveted flexibility, so again, doing so would no longer be a must.

But with each passing day in free agency, it seems to be more likely that the Jets are going to have to address this need at receiver through the draft.

All offseason, given the state of the Jets’ offensive line, selecting a tackle with the 10th overall pick was considered a must. However, with the additions of Tyron Smith, John Simpson, and Morgan Moses, the Jets have gained some flexibility in terms of how they approach that selection.

As I wrote recently, those additions along the offensive line don’t mean that the job is done. In fact, taking a tackle at 10 is probably still the prudent move. But if the board falls a particular way, Douglas now has a lot more freedom to take a player like Odunze, knowing that he has his starting five for 2024 in place.

If the Jets do not take Odunze or any receiver at 10, their next selection doesn’t come until the third round at 72 overall–unless they were to trade down from pick 10. In what is a talented receiver class, there will be players available who can come in and make an impact right away. That’s something we’ve seen quite a bit of lately around the NFL.

However, as Solak points out, for every third-round success story, there are plenty of other draft picks that haven’t worked out either. In order to maximize the player’s potential and impact in that part of the draft, a perfect marriage between coaching, scouting, and the general manager, so everyone is one the same page, is required.

“It depends on how well you draft, right?” said Solak about finding an impact player in the third round. “We’ve seen Nico Collins come out of the third round. We’ve seen Puka Nacua come out of the fifth round. Tank Dell come out the late second round. You can go and you can find a guy because there are so many different body types at wide receiver; there’s so many different roles. If the coaching is good, and the coaching and scouting work hand-in-hand, the quarterback understands, the offense understands, there’s cohesiveness across the board, you can plug a rookie in and be immediately successful. You have to have that vision. You have to have that good scouting. It can be a bit of a hard window to hit.

“I love going wide receiver in the middle rounds. I think every team should leave rounds two, three, and four, and five with at least one receiver every year because there’s just so many guys and so many of them can hit late. So it’s a wonderful idea, but you have to have realistic expectations. For every name I said, there’s a Jalin Hyatt and a Cedric Tillman, and 13 other guys I can’t remember, Bryan Edwards, because they’ve all fallen off the map and missed. It’s a good dice roll to take when you get to those middle rounds, but you have to have realistic expectations.”

Story originally appeared on Jets Wire