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2024 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Rome Odunze

It's a point that has been beaten like a drum for months, but this year's NFL Draft wide receiver class is as good as any I've ever seen. Guys like Marvin Harrison Jr., Malik Nabers, Adonai Mitchell, and Brian Thomas Jr. all feel like locks to go in the top 35, but a name missing from that group is Washington's Rome Odunze. The Las Vegas native, standing a hair under 6'3" and just over 210 lbs, made one hell of a name for himself this year with his jump ball ability, working perfectly in tandem with Michael Penix Jr. en route to a National Championship runner-up bid.

In addition to being named a consensus All-American and making the final two First-Team All-Pac-12 squads, Odunze also came close to taking home the Bilitnikoff award as a redshirt junior in a hyper-competitive race. Now, after a spectacular final year in the Pacific Northwest and a tremendous combine outing, the belief is Odunze won't be on the board for too long come NFL Draft night one, but just how good is he?

Player Bio

Name: Rome Odunze

Jersey: No. 1 (No. 16 as a Freshman)

Position: Wide Reciever

School: Washington

Class: Redshirt Junior 

Height: 6'2 7/8ths" 

Weight: 212 lbs 

Games Watched: vs. UCLA (2022), vs. Bosie State, Oregon, Arizona, and Michigan (2023)

RAS Score Comp:

Note: Odunze had a 4.03 Short Shuttle and a 6.88 3-Cone Drill, which is absent here for some reason.

Player Breakdown

Hands/Ball Security (14.5/15)

Outside of a couple of drops on tape (one of which, in the Natty against Michigan, I wouldn't hold against him too much), Odunze consistently displayed great hands in the five games watched. It's also worth noting that he had seven drops in 2021 and cut that number to just three in 2023, which is nice to see in the stat sheet. I also think Odunze has a better catch radius than his nearly 77-inch wingspan would suggest.

Contested Catch (10/10)

In 2023 alone, Odunze saw 28 targets, which resulted in contested catch situations. Of those, the Washington product turned 21 into completed passes, or 75 percent, or the odds of Scott Steiner beating Samoa Joe before adding Kurt Angle to the mix (for the five people who get this, you're welcome). This is very normal, of course. Here's a quick look for yourself.

Tracking/Body Control (10/10)

Just like in the 50/50 ball department, Odunze's body control and tracking ability are both elite in their own right. He made several notable catches, having to contort back to the ball, and even made one against Bosie State almost immediately, where he was in the process of tripping.

Route Running (8.25/10)

Odunze didn't run the most diverse tree, which brings this score down some, but he can add to his repertoire, and he was pretty good at what Washington was having him do. It was primarily vertical-based stuff, but he ran a good amount of outs and ins, as well as some posts and overs. I'd certainly like to see Odunze shorten the process of getting in and out of his breaks, but I liked the bulk of what I saw from him, especially finding spots against zone, and I think he will ultimately improve on some of the weaker areas here.

Separation (7.75/10)

I wouldn't call Odunze an elite separator by any means, but there were a few occasions where he made defenders look silly as a route runner to gain space. This'll likely be his best asset to gain separation (assuming he doesn't improve on something we get into later), and here are two examples of what he's capable of doing downfield to create space.

Release (5/10)

Releasing off the line is easily my biggest concern with Odunze coming into the NFL, especially considering his likely role as a boundary threat. Whether he tried to beat press off the line with finesse, speed, or physicality, he couldn't find much success, something even his old offensive coordinator at Washington, Ryan Grubb, noted when talking to the Seattle Times last October.

"That’s where people are going to continue to look for answers against a big guy. I think as long as he can do that and be physical through it, he’ll be even better.” - Ryan Grubb on beating press coverage being Rome Odunze's limiting factor.

I don't think it's impossible for him to improve dramatically here, but this could immediately get him into trouble with NFL cornerbacks.

Run After the Catch (7/10)

While true YAC opportunities for Odunze were few and far between, he certainly has the juice to get some extra yards. However, one reason to believe there's more than what was shown is his production in the screen game. I saw more than enough juice and urgency there to think that can translate after the catch in the right circumstances, but this certainly isn't the strongest area of his game.

Vertical Speed (7.75/10)

Odunze's play speed felt a smidge faster than his 4.45 time would suggest, but ultimately, he's only able to do so much to threaten defenses over the top on speed alone. Does that mean he's going to be a nonfactor downfield? I wouldn't go that far, but he will probably not be a house call in a box.

Burst/Acceleration (6.5/10)

While Odunze's 1.52 10-yard split ranks in the top 20 among WRs over the last two years, it didn't translate on tape consistently enough for my liking. He lacked explosiveness, which would've helped him a lot in the short game and against press man when he was trying to win with speed. The silver lining here is that he does possess natural explosiveness; coaching has to get it to translate to the gridiron more effectively.

Athleticism (4.75/5)

His testing scores mostly tell the story, but outside of short area quickness, Odunze translates his natural athleticism to the field very well, especially when it comes to going vertical.

Blocking (3.25/5)

Odunze's effort as a blocker wasn't too much in question here, but the execution was at the beginning. Luckily, things got better as we moved along, and He shouldn't have a ton of trouble getting his hands dirty at the next level. The biggest thing would be him holding up a bit better, although that's an area where you saw a dramatic improvement by the time the Michigan matchup rolled around.

Versatility (4.75/5)

Ideally, Odunze is a majority X receiver in the NFL, but it's always good to be versatile, and Washington was very liberal with his usage. Last season, he had a little over 100 snaps in the slot, in addition to being used in motion in the backfield (almost entirely as a decoy, which surprised me) and even taking a few snaps aligned in the backfield. Never mind that he's a three-level threat; Odunze's versatility shouldn't be questioned.

Player Summary

Even with some notable flaws in his game, it's hard to miss the upside with a guy like Odunze, especially when his hands are as good as they are. He's undoubtedly raw, but this isn't a N'Keal Harry situation where he lacks route-running juice and is purely a jump-ball guy who can't separate. Even then, Odunze's ability as a jump-ball guy is absurd, like best in the class by a good bit absurd.

His biggest hurdle in year one will be simply translating his natural explosiveness to his release package and to his route-running repertoire on in and out-breaking stuff, which, based on his testing numbers, he has the natural ability to do so. However, Odunze should be fine working vertically, back to his quarterback, and going over the middle to find soft spots in zone looks. Also, there's the whole "he's borderline unstoppable climbing the ladder" thing, which shouldn't hurt either. In any case, I'm very excited to see how the Washington product develops in his opening few years in the NFL. In the right spot, he can be big-time (looking at you @LosAngelesChargers).

Rookie Projection: Starting Boundary Reciever

Third-Year Projection: Pro Bowl Caliber Receiver

Final Grade: (90/100) Top-10 Talent

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