As draft talk picks up surrounding the Chicago Bears, there’s one wide receiver who’s become a popular target: Washington’s Rome Odunze.
The consensus trends towards the Bears selecting USC quarterback Caleb Williams with the No. 1 pick they received from the Panthers, but the most popular option with their own No. 9 selection has been Odunze. It makes sense from a positional perspective, as Darnell Mooney is a free agent, and Chicago lacks a reliable target alongside DJ Moore otherwise.
What exactly does Odunze do well, though? Is he the WR2 in this class, and how far off is he from Marvin Harrison Jr.? Let’s explore this by breaking down one of the top players in the 2024 NFL Draft.
Games watched: @ UCLA, 2022; vs. Kent State, 2022; vs. Michigan State, 2022; vs. Boise State, 2023; vs. California, 2023; vs. Oregon, 2023; @ Arizona, 2023
- Big-bodied receiver listed at 6-foot-3 and 215 pounds
- Has a large catch radius and a well-built frame that has added muscle progressively over the years
- Offers good ball skills with impressive leaping ability and the ball-tracking skills that should impress teams at the next level
- Capable of winning inside and outside
- For a taller wide receiver, he offers good explosiveness coming out of his breaks
- His body control gives him that “it-factor” in terms of how he gets himself open
- Has a high route-running IQ, as he does a good job of exploiting blind spots through his stems
- Route salesmanship is very good
- Pretty quick off the line of scrimmage
- Has the production you’d want out of a first-round pick at the collegiate level
- Incredibly coordinated at the catch point
- Has a good feel for how to exploit soft spots against zone coverage
- Could get better in how he uses his hands to break free from press coverage
- Physicality through his stems could stand to improve
- Decent after the catch but doesn’t offer elite agility with the ball in his hands
- Occasionally finds himself prone to body catching, and though he’s gotten much better over the years, he had some drop issues early in college
- Long speed isn’t bad by any means, but it’s not particularly elite
In most recent draft classes, we’re talking about Odunze as a likely WR1 in the entire draft.
He’s an extremely well-rounded wide receiver with a combination of size, speed, ball skills and route-running savvy that gives him a Pro Bowl ceiling at the NFL level. He’s arguably the most polished receiver in the 2024 draft, and when you consider he’s doing what he does at 6-foot-3, it becomes even more impressive.
He doesn’t have the freakish physical upside of Marvin Harrison Jr., and the game-breaking speed of Malik Nabers could see the LSU receiver selected right behind MHJ. However, I have Odunze as my WR2 in this class, and he’s currently a top-10 prospect on my board. He projects as an immediate contributor as an ‘X’ boundary receiver with legitimate WR1 potential.