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Breaking Down Washington Wide Receiver Rome Odunze

Greg Gabriel with a look at Washington’s talented wideout, and likely first-round draft pick, Rome Odunze

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: NOV 25 Washington State at Washington Photo by Jesse Beals/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

If there is one thing that is certain in the upcoming 2024 Draft, it's that this Draft is loaded with quality wide receivers. There could well be four of five receivers selected in the opening round. One of these receivers is Washington's Rome Odunze, who is a big, fast, physical, and productive player. Currently, I have him rated as the number three wide receiver in this class, and there is no doubt that he is going to be a big contributor as a rookie to the team that selects him next April.

Qdunze is a fourth-year player who originally enrolled at Washington in 2020. He only played in four games that season, so he held on to his red-shirt year, which means he has one more year of eligibility if he wants to take it.

In the last three seasons, Rome has played in all of Washington's games and started 28. In that three-year period, he has 197 receptions for 2,983 yards and 24 touchdowns. Not bad for someone not named Marvin Harrison Jr.

Speaking of Harrison, despite the hype machine that follows Harrison, several high-level NFL evaluators do not have Harrison as WR1 in this class. These people all have LSU's Malik Nabers as WR1. Just to reiterate, I am not saying there are clubs that have Nabers as WR1, but rather individuals. Clubs don't begin to put a preliminary Draft Board together until February, shortly before the Combine. Regardless of which receiver comes off the board first, that does not mean every club has that player as the top receiver. No two Draft Boards are alike, and each club will line up their board according to their grades, not the popular opinion of analysts.

Getting back to Odunze, there is a lot to like about his game. He has great size at about 6-3, 215, with very good overall athleticism and speed. I would estimate that he will run about 4.45 at Indy. The Washington offense is a very good college offense, and the route tree that their receivers run is a full NFL route tree. Rome is a very good route runner who can use moves or change of pace to get open. With his flexibility, he easily breaks down at the top of a route and has a nice burst coming out of cuts to gain separation. With his size and length, he can and does make the contested catch. His hands are excellent and very strong. He is going to win the jump balls because of those strong hands. It's fair to say that Odunze wins in most situations.

After the catch, Odunze isn't an overly elusive runner, but he is very strong, can make the first man miss, and runs with strength and power. He can and does get yards after contact. As an added plus, he is used as a punt returner at times and is very effective.

How does Odunze fit into the Chicago Bears' offense? Right now, he is the perfect X receiver being that he is tall, fast, and strong. He fits the profile for X perfectly. That said, if there is a coaching change for the Bears, either at the top or at the OC position, the new offense will change. That means the big X receiver may not fit the profile of what a new coordinator wants. That said, Odzune can fit in any scheme because of his natural skill set. Any club, regardless of scheme, would be foolish not to want him in their wide receiver room. The current player in the League that he reminds me of is Philly's A.J. Brown. Rome is a bit taller, but both are big and very physical players.

How high does Rome go in the Draft? At this point, it's hard to come up with a realistic answer. On tape, he certainly looks and plays like a Top 15 player. What we don't know is his verified athleticism. How fast is he, how quickly does he run the agility drills, and how high can he jump? Those are all very important parts of the evaluation process. While he looks like a 4.45 guy, what if he runs 4.60? That would hurt his value come Draft Day. The same holds true for all the receivers in the Draft. The evaluation process is a long, methodical system, and no grades can be final until we have all the pertinent information. Right now, I have him as WR3, in the end, he could be higher or lower. We will find out soon enough.