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Rome Odunze
NFL Draft

Rome Odunze Could Soon Be Key Piece Of An NFL Offense

  • Ryan Fowler
  • November 30, 2022
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One of the country’s most underrated perimeter talents, it doesn’t take long to learn why Washington’s Rome Odunze has received NFL draft buzz this fall. A second-year contributor and only a redshirt sophomore, 2022 provided the platform for the 6-foot-3 talent to shine on one of the Pac-12’s brightest stages.

Working in tandem with transfer quarterback Michael Penix Jr., Odunze was a constant figure within the high-flying Huskies aerial attack. For an offense that led the conference in scoring (39.7) and ranked in the top 10 nationally as well, Odunze’s ability to evolve into Penix’s top target spotlighted one of college football’s smoothest playmakers.

Despite missing a game early this fall, Odunze recorded 100 targets, 70 receptions, seven touchdowns, a gaudy 15.5 yards per catch, and just two drops (none after Week 4) this fall. And while the public eye would often call it a night and turn off the television set once Pac-12 football kicked off on Saturday evening, staying up late to study his game showcased an athlete more than capable of transferring his game to Sundays. 

A fluid mover whose ability to separate both off the line of scrimmage and at the catch point has caused headaches for opposing corners, Odunze’s acrobatics and body control, when asked to play above the rim, stood out all campaign long. And as good as he is above the turf, his route-running is where his game projects the most. 

The narrative for talents of his stature often centers around limited flexibility in the lower half of the body, ultimately making it harder to transition in and out of breaks, and more so, win 1-on-1 matchups against fleet-footed corners. For Odunze, however, he’s oily and extremely fluid in whatever route he’s asked to run. He’s patient yet sudden in his movements, often baiting defenders into movements that will put them out of position—a technician at the receiver spot. 

For NFL teams, it’s what you want to see from big-bodied pass-catchers. While their verticality draws a crowd, the ability to move at the pace of a much smaller man expands a playbook. And for someone like Odunze, who has experience playing extended out to both sides of the formation and in the slot, he doesn’t pigeonhole himself as a scheme-specific talent where half the league enters his evaluation with question marks.

Rome Odunze came into his own at a rapid pace, and with multiple years of eligibility left, his ceiling remains as lofty as any wideout in the country. While he’s draft-eligible this season and scouts remain at a pivot point if he does indeed return to school, one of CFB’s biggest secrets could soon become a massive puzzle piece to an NFL team’s offensive attack moving into next fall.

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Ryan Fowler