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ESPN Analysts Name Rome Odunze as Top Selection in NFL Draft


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Vince Carbonneau
May 7, 2024  (11:17)
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Rome Odunze
Photo credit: First round mock

Three ESPN.com analysts have declared the Bears' selection of Washington receiver Rome Odunze at No. 9 in the first round as the standout pick of the NFL Draft.

Odunze has played 40 games over the past four seasons for the Huskies, snagging 214 receptions for 3,272 yards and 24 touchdowns. Last season, the 6-3, 215-pound player was named an AP First-Team All-American and a finalist for the Biletnikoff Award, recognizing the nation's top receiver, after setting career highs with 92 catches, 1,640 yards, and 13 TDs.
With the Bears opting for Odunze after selecting USC quarterback Caleb Williams as the first overall pick, they have taken two players in the top 10 for the first time since 1979. That year, they chose defensive linemen Dan Hampton and Al Harris at No. 4 and No. 9, respectively.
Matt Miller commented:
"Let's give the Bears credit for not overthinking and simply drafting top talent. Adding a rookie quarterback in Caleb Williams and pairing him with a premier receiver like Odunze to build synergy was a masterstroke. The fact that they trained together before the draft only enhances their potential chemistry. Odunze was my third-ranked overall prospect, and Chicago managed to snag two of my top three picks in this class."
Mike Tannenbaum remarked:
"Odunze has a real shot at becoming the top receiver from this draft class. The Bears have set themselves up not just to compete today but also to develop future talent. With veteran Allen on a one-year contract, Odunze's exceptional capabilities, reminiscent of Terrell Owens, set him up perfectly in Chicago."
Field Yates noted:
"Odunze dropping to No. 9 wasn't completely unexpected due to the early rush on quarterbacks, but it certainly wasn't guaranteed. Ranked as the sixth-best player on my list, he might have been the first receiver selected in many previous drafts if not for the presence of Marvin Harrison Jr. and Nabers, the third and fourth on my board. Make no mistake—Odunze will make an immediate impact as one of the most refined prospects in this draft class."
These analyses underscore the strategic moves made by the Bears in this year's draft, focusing on both immediate gains and long-term development.
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MAY 7   |   84 ANSWERS
ESPN Analysts Name Rome Odunze as Top Selection in NFL Draft

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