Rome Odunze - WR - Washington

It took some time for Rome Odunze to truly break out during his time at Washington. But a head coaching change and a new quarterback facilitated his breakout. Those shifts in the offense allowed Odunze to go for over 1,000 yards receiving in his final two years in college and become a top-tier NFL prospect.

Measurables

Height: 6′ 2″

Weight: 212 lbs

Age: 22

40-yard dash: 4.45s

3-cone drill: 6.88s

20-yard shuttle: 4.03s

Vertical Jump: 39″

Broad Jump: 10’4″

Bench Press: DNP

*age is at the start of player’s rookie year

College Stats

Receiving & Rushing Table
ReceivingRushingScrimmage
YearSchoolConfClassPosGRecYdsAvgTDAttYdsAvgTDPlaysYdsAvgTD
2020WashingtonPac-12FRWR467212.003-16-5.309566.20
2021WashingtonPac-12FRWR94141510.142136.504342810.04
*2022WashingtonPac-12SO1275114515.37362.0178115114.88
*2023WashingtonPac-12SRWR1592164017.81323718.5194167717.814
CareerWashington214327215.32410404.02224331214.826
Provided by CFB at Sports Reference: View Original Table
Generated 3/27/2024.

Notable Headlines

Odunze was a mid-4-star recruit out of high school, joining fellow wide receiver Jalen McMillan as two top-ranked receivers to enroll at Washington in the 2020 recruiting class. The Huskies only played in four games in 2020 due to COVID, but Odunze was behind some notable names like Puka Nacua and Cade Otton on the receiving pecking order. The following season, the ball was spread around the receiving room fairly evenly, but Odunze stood out with the most receptions with 41 despite only playing in 9 games. Still a quiet year.

The next offseason, the Huskies brought in a new head coach Kalen DeBoer. DeBoer also brought over his former quarterback at Indiana: Michael Penix. These two moves completely revamped the offense as they went from ~2,700 total passing yards to ~4,800 total passing yards. That resulted in a big bump for the wide receivers as Rome Odunze and also Jalen McMillan went over 1,000 receiving yards for the first time.

As a redshirt junior, and Odunze’s final year at Washington, he blew up as he earned 140 targets, catching 92 of them for 1,639 receiving yards and 13 receiving touchdowns. His season led to him being named a Consensus All-American and earned him his second first-team All-Pac-12 honors. And he played a massive part in his team making it to the CFP National Championship game. Following the season, Rome Odunze decided to declare for the NFL Draft.

Scouting Report

Positives

Rome Odunze’s hands and ball skills are what immediately pop off the screen when watching his tape. He has reliable hands anywhere on the field and he pairs that with incredible body control. The combination of strong hands at the catch point, natural size, and ability to contort his body to attack the ball at its high point lends Odunze to being one of the best contested catchers in this draft class. Add onto that, he has great ball-tracking ability downfield to add another element to his game.

After the catch, Odunze provides an above-average ability to create plus yardage after the catch. On top of his natural athleticism, ability to attack the ball in the air, and what he does after the catch, he also blocks for his teammates. He showed to be a willing blocker and he utilizes those traits that make him a great receiver to be a plus value blocker in the open field as well.

Negatives

Odunze has great athletic ability, but his technique can be lacking as a route runner as he fails to get the most out of his ability to separate. He breaks with high hips, his ability to stack downfield tended to lack at times, and his release at the line of scrimmage looked a lot more effective to the inside than to the outside. He tended to be susceptible to getting jammed at the line of scrimmage when he released outside. All around, he just wasn’t a consistent separator and relied on his athletic and physical ability to create that separation more often than route-running nuance.

In the open field, a slight knock is his average speed, but it’s plenty enough to pick up explosive plays and still be a downfield threat, especially at his size. Another slight concern is that his contested catch rate had a significant boom in his final year at college, and the question is if that was a one-time thing or a legitimate improvement. His contested catches to contested targets in years 1-3 were 3/5, 1/6, and 4/16 respectively. Then last season he boomed to 21/28. While he was really good in this area on tape last season, there’s a slight concern if it sticks long-term.

Pre Draft Analysis

Expected Draft Capital- Early Round 1

Landing Spots

While Rome Odunze is likely to go early in the first, it would be surprising if he goes top 5 with the need at the top of the draft for quarterbacks this year. Odunze profiles as a prototypical WR1 for an NFL Team and that is exactly what a team like the Los Angeles Chargers and Arizona Cardinals are missing. Both of these teams are likely trade-back candidates to let other teams jump up and get their quarterback. That would allow one or both of these teams to move back as they both likely have their franchise quarterback. And they would be able to pick up additional draft capital while potentially acquiring their future WR1.

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