Bump: What makes UW’s Rome Odunze a top NFL Draft prospect

Jan 25, 2024, 8:12 AM | Updated: 3:22 pm

UW Huskies Rome Odunze...

UW Huskies wide receiver Rome Odunze celebrates a touchdown against Oregon State on Nov. 18, 2023. (Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

(Tom Hauck/Getty Images)

The UW Huskies will look a lot different next year with nearly every top player from their 14-1 season heading to the NFL.

UW Huskies in Draft: Who stands out to NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah?

Quarterback Michael Penix Jr. naturally dominates discussion when it comes to Huskies moving on, but he likely won’t be the first UW player selected in April’s NFL Draft.

Instead, that likely will be Penix’s No. 1 target these past two years: Star receiver Rome Odunze.

Odunze declared for the draft earlier this month after a monster 2023 camapign that saw him catch 92 passes for a nation-leading 1,640 yards and 13 touchdowns.

The 6 foot 3, 215-pound receiver is expected to be a top-10 pick. NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah has him going fifth overall to the Los Angeles Chargers in his first mock draft of the offseason and ESPN’s Mel Kiper had Odunze going to Chicago with the No. 9 pick.

So what makes Rome Odunze such an intriguing NFL prospect? Who better to break it down than former NFL receiver Michael Bumpus, who answered that question during Wednesday’s Brock and Salk on Seattle Sports.

“Well, one, he’s good at the job description, which is catching the football, right?” Bumpus said. “My man can make the difficult catch. It helps when you have Michael Penix, a guy who’s gonna put it on your back shoulder, the over the shoulder, wherever you need it. But rule No. 1 is you catch the football. He does exactly that.”

Bumpus thinks Odunze has elite body positioning, which was on full display in 2023 as he regularly was tasked with catching contested throws up and over defensive backs.

“You look at the best athletes … they all have elite body control. And you look at the way he had just his body when the football is in the air, it’s second to none,” Bumpus said. “So body control and hands.”

Bumpus thinks Odunze should only get better once he gets into the NFL, too.

“His routes aren’t bad, but I’m excited to see how much better they get with an offseason of training, getting into the NFL, getting coached up. And the guy has already good routes. And we’ve seen over the past couple of years he’s added more weight as well, so he’s gonna get stronger and he’s gonna be able to snap it off at the top,” Bumpus said. “But it’s really just his hand-eye coordination, his ability to adjust to the football and just make the tough catch. You see a lot of bigger receivers in the league and they don’t rely on the route-running a lot … And he’s gonna get a lot better than that he’s already good route runner, but it’s just the ability to go get it. And you pack it on with that size and that speed, there ain’t too many better than him, Mike.”

Listen to the full second hour of Wednesday’s Brock and Salk at this link or in the player near the top of this story.

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