Player Spotlight: Washington WR Rome Odunze

Odunze ended his Washington career second in receiving yards and third in receiving touchdowns in school history.
Odunze ended his Washington career second in receiving yards and third in receiving touchdowns in school history. / Alika Jenner/GettyImages

Name: Rome Odunze
Position: Wide Receiver
School: Washington
Age (Draft Day): 21
Height/Weight: 6'3", 212 lbs


In any other draft class, Odunze would likely be one of the players with the most buzz around his name. He certainly would have been the first receiver selected in the 2023 NFL draft. Unfortunately for him, Marvin Harrison Jr. and Malik Nabers are both coming out this year. Still, Odunze is coming off a stellar year that saw him first-team All-American and All-Pac 12 honors while leading the nation in receiving yards and 13 touchdowns.

Odunze took a huge step in his redshirt junior season, becoming one of the best downfield targets in the game. He drastically improved his ability to catch in traffic. His route running and release look even sharper than on his 2022 tape. He is more than athletic enough to get open at the NFL level.


Catching: Odunze excels at snatching the ball out of the air. He made some truly spectacular grabs in his time at Washington. He has soft hands and does not let the ball get into his body. I already mentioned it, but his ability to make contested grabs took a big leap, making him one of Michael Penix Jr.'s favorite targets in a loaded offense.

Route running: While Odunze is a good athlete, he lacks blazing top-end speed or elite after-the-catch ability. Instead, he wins with his technique and precision. He layers his routes so well, understanding how to adjust to beat zone coverage. He generates separation and knows how to create a good throwing window for his quarterback to hit. Additionally, he excels at stacking corners on vertical routes and selling double moves.

Release: Odunze did not have to beat press too often at Washington, thanks in part to the creative offensive scheme run by Ryan Grubbs to line him up all over the field featuring a lot of pre-snap motion. When he was pressed, he got off with ease. His footwork is clean and concise. His hand usage to keep corners off him is above average as well.


Agility: This is less a weakness and more a recognition that Odunze will not be utilized the same way as smaller receivers. His burst out of breaks lacks a bit. He is not going to win by running a lot of stick or waggle concepts. He is lacking in that make-you-miss ability in open space.

Long speed: Odunze can run by defenders, but it is hardly a calling card in his game. He has good acceleration and can get vertical in a hurry. However, there are very few instances of him taking a pass underneath and turning the corner for a massive gain. His big plays are when the ball is thrown deep downfield.

NFL Comparison: Allen Robinson

It is easy to forget how reliable and productive Allen Robinson was early in his career. After a solid rookie season in which he racked up over 500 yards in just 10 games, Robinson exploded for 1,400 yards and 14 touchdowns. Injuries and inconsistent quarterback play prevented him from becoming a true star. Odunze is a bit faster, but could have a similar impact on an offense to the one we saw early on from Robinson.

NFL Draft Outlook: Top 10 pick

It is a stacked class at a number of key offensive positions, but it is hard to imagine Odunze will not be selected in the top 10. Depending on how the board falls, the Chargers, Giants, Bears and Jets all figure to be likely landing spots for him.

Grade: 90.5